So far, Bruge is the most picturesque city I have visited. I arrived late as the sun was setting, and it was a quick walk from the train station, on a beautiful cool evening.
First stop was the LeTrappiste bar. I’d walked through the main square
and about a half dozen loud buzzy restaurants (with pictures on the menus, so a definite no-go) only to find the kitchen at Le Trappiste was closed. But I instantly liked the bartender and the crowd, and decided to stay anyway, when he offered me some sausage and cheese as a meal. What goes better with beer than sausage and cheese, anyway?
On the walk home, I met some local kids at the square, which was quiet except for one vendor selling fries. I am not sure if the guy making the fries was paying the drunk kids to solicit customers, but they were convincing all of the tourists who walked by as the bars were closing, to buy from this cart, not the one next to it, and try some of the Belgian late night snacks. I chatted with them for a while, the girl was applying to study at university in the US – she was simply dying to move to America. I could not imagine, living in this perfect little town, why anyone would want to leave it for America. I mean, as I write this, the US is apparently putting immigrant children in cages back home. But I wasn’t about to debate a sweet but very drunk local.
My airbnb was a small guesthouse. Self check-in, lovely room, nice big bathroom and shower. It was in a great location, too.
In the morning, a nice walk around town. There are bikes EVERYWHERE. Everyone rides bikes, old, young, couples, business people, students. There are very few cars. I love this town!!
First stop, tour of the Beer Museum. I was a little early, (anxious, perhaps??) and was the only one in the museum for their first appointment slot.
Then, of course, a tour of some of the local breweries. There are two in the town center. I hit Bourgogne des Flanders first. It was maybe a tiny bit touristy, but in a very cool way. It was beautifully done, even if it didn’t have that raw rough feel to it that the second brewery did. It was comfortable, not too crowded with timed visits and tickets, and a very pretty interior. The tour was well done and informative. The brewer was working while we toured, and he happily answered questions about the process, the history, even about other breweries.
I then toured a second brewery, the other one located right in town, De Halve Maan. This brewery has been operating since 1856, and is known for making Bruge the city that has beer flowing through the streets. Literally. The streets were taking a beating from all the weight of the trucks transporting beer to the bottling facility outside of town, so they built a pipeline of beer! Beer flowing in the streets, bikes everywhere, pretty old buildings – this place is heaven!!
Of course with Belgian Beer, you might crave mussels. They were not in season during my visit, so they were not great, but I went for it anyway, for lunch.
For dinner, I had my first bouillabaisse at a great little restaurant called Breydel de Coninc. I wanted mussels but I’d had them for lunch, and they were not that great – out of season on May, apparently. Shame, because nothing goes better with Belgian Beer.
I loved Bruge, I wish I’d spent more time there… I definitely plan to go back!