Travel Journey of the Week: Belgium

Yesterday’s post inspired me to take a closer look at Belgium.  I’ve only stayed in Bruges, but I’d like to know what else is worth a visit. Share your experiences with us.  Here is how you can contribute:

1. Each Sunday, a place will be set as the theme (it could be a city, landmark, national park, etc.)

2. If you are familiar with the place and would like to contribute, you will write a post and title it Travel Journey of the Week: Belgium.  If you’ve already written a post about Belgium, feel free to share it in the comments section!

3. Your post can be any medium that works for you; videos, photos, descriptions, itineraries, personal memories, poems, ticket stubs, etc.

4. Finally, be sure to provide a link back here so everyone can connect and share their own take on the place: ‎

Travel Journey of the Week: Belgium

Since I shared some sights in Belgium already, I’d like to provide a recommendation for a place to stay in Bruges.  A bed and breakfast is a great idea for a destination like this.  Meet some locals, talk with other travelers, taste the cuisine, and feel like you have a home in a new country.  B&B Marie Rose Debruyne is the perfect place to stay.  Here is why you should consider it if you are thinking of taking a trip to Bruges.

Friendly People-Marie-Rose and her husband, Ronny, have transformed their home to an artistic delight.  Even though it is a bit more modern, it still feels so homey.  Once we arrived, she fixed us a cup of hot tea and sat down with us to highlight all the sights to see on a map.  She made personalized recommendations based on what we were interested in.  If only we had more time to see it all.

Unique Accommodations-As soon as you walk through the massive door in the front you will be stunned.  Looking all around, you will see something new and stimulating to take in.  According to Marie-Rose, “On this piece of land there was a house as early as the 16th century. It was the only house in the street. 100 years ago our house was a local brewery.”  In 1992 they bought the home and renovated.  Her most recent project has been the house out back which she has turned into an apartment that can be rented for travel.  What an amazing combination of history and creativity.  And all of this for a price that can’t be questioned.

Good Location-Bruges can be a bit crowded at times.  The B&B is located in the Northern part of the city, just a short walk to the Markt.  Make sure you have a map while walking around because it is easy to get misplaced in this city.

*If you’d like to see more photos of Bruges, check out my portfolio.


Venice of the North: Bruges

Brugge3Bruges (Brugge) is a quiet town in Northern Belgium.  It is easily accessed from Brussels, which makes it possible to visit if you are staying in Paris.  Bruges is physically possible in a day trip, but it is well worth an overnight stay or longer.

Getting to Bruges

If you are coming from Paris, you will want to take the Thalys high speed train from Paris Gare du Nord to Brussels Midi, and connect to a train that will take you to Bruges.  You should book your Thalys tickets ahead of time because you can save money.  I booked directly through their website and was able to get a deal for 44 Euros round trip.  You cannot reserve seats on the train from Brussels to Bruges, so it is easiest just to get the tickets at the station.  The journey is just under 2.5 hours and cost me under 75 Euros total.  If I would have gone through Rail Europe, I would have spent over 100 Euros.

*Tip: I received a better deal when I switched the language to Belgium/English.  Be sure to test this out if you are purchasing a ticket.

Sights in Bruges

The town itself is a sight to see.  It offers crow-stepped gables architecture lining the canals.  I highly recommend that you get lost wandering around the town.  You are surrounded by a large canal, so you can’t get too lost as long as you don’t cross over it.  I struggled to ever take a direct route to where I wanted to go, but the quiet backstreets and canals offered a view past the touristy center.  Here were my top five favorite sites:

1. Markt Square-Belfort Tower-City Hall-Although this area is touristy and a bit pricey, it is the main square in Bruges.

2. Burg-This square is the neighbor of the Markt Square.  The variety of architecture provides a unique collage of Renaissance, Baroque, and more.

3. Church of Our LadyThis church holds the only Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime.  The church is undergoing restoration, but your visit will help support their efforts.

4. Begijnhof-Stroll past the peaceful homes and courtyard for nuns and quiet visitors.

5. Canal Cruise-Seeing Bruges from the water is just as important as seeing Venice from the canals.  Float past the major sites as you glide on the water with the swans.

*This short list provides some highlights, but there is much more to see.  For more ideas about sites to visit, check out the Bruges Official Tourism Website.

Eating/Drinking in Bruges

Belgians are known for chocolate, beer, waffles, and fries (along with many other specialties).  Plan on walking around a lot to burn off all these calories.  If you order fries, don’t forget to order it the way they like them: with mayonnaise.

Staying in Bruges

I think my favorite part about Bruges was the bed and breakfast we stayed at.  It was one of the most unique, comforting places I’ve ever been to.  The husband is an architect and the wife is a retired teacher.  Their creative style creates an environment that is welcoming.  If you are looking for an affordable place to stay with lots of charm, stay at B&B Marie Rose Debruyne.  I will share more about my experience with them in a post tomorrow.

*If you like the photos you see here, check out my portfolio.