Of course I had to visit both Bruge and Brussels while in Belgium; Bruge because it’s famous and wanted to go after seeing the movie In Bruges and Brussels because it’s the capital.
Bruge: Bruge is located only about a 30 minute train ride from Ghent. I didn’t do too much in Bruge, really just walked around and take in the sights. It is a beautiful city, very similar to Ghent, but more disneylandish and a lot more touristy. I say it is disneylandish because is it was heavily bombed during WWII, so a lot of the buildings were redone and it is constantly redone for the tourists. I wanted to climb the Belfry, which is the tallest building in Bruge with 366 steps, but the line to get in was extremely long. Instead, I explored the city. I went into the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where they claim to have blood from Christ, but there was a mass going on so I couldn’t see it. I walked to the outskirts of the town to see the Kruispoort Gate, which is the remnants of the medieval wall that used to surround the city. It was build during the 1300s and is now a UNESCO world heritage site. I took a different route on my way back to the town center and got lost among the streets and canals. Once outside the main square away from the tourist spots, Bruge is a beautiful city. It’s similar to Ghent, yet unique in its own right. It has a distinct feel that’s difficult to describe. I stopped at a hard to find local bar called Staminee De Garre, tucked in between an alley you wouldn’t know existed unless you knew where to look. The entrance was the width of me. There, they served an amazing home brewed triple, called De Garre. It was strong, around 11%, but incredibly smooth. One of the tastiest beers I tasted on my trip. After the bar, I went to get chocolate at the best place in Bruge It was called Chocolatier Dumon and they had a selection of a bunch of different types. I think I got a mixture of like 5 or 6 different chocolates. It was amazing, except the milk chocolate with eggnog. It was horrible, I had to spit it out. I don’t regret my decision though. It was awesome to experience Bruge and I’m glad I had the opportunity. Now I have to re-watch the movie In Bruges.
Brussels: After Bruge I went back to Ghent, met David and we went to Brussels. Brussels is also only about a 30 min train ride from Ghent, maybe slightly more. Everybody that I have talked to says, that Brussels isn’t worth seeing and there isn’t much to see in Brussels, but I beg to differ. I thought Brussels was a beautiful city. There is a lot to see if you know where to look. It helped that we had David’s friend give us a tour of the city. For some time, he worked as a restoration advisor for the city, he decided which buildings should be restore and which should be left how they are. He showed us some really cool spots, like the medieval wall that’s still intact and in two different parts of the city center. We went to some really cool bars, one of which that was medieval in origin. We stopped at some amazing churches. I don’t remember their names, no do I have pictures. We walked through the Royal Galleries, probably one of the first mall type of things. It’s was built in 1847 and consists of a bunch of shops housed under one roof. It was incredibly beautiful, especially with hanging Christmas lights. The central plaza in Brussels is breathtakingly beautiful. Brussels a beautiful city with a lot to offer. Of course just like any place in Belgium, it has amazing Belgian beer, so a stop at any bar will automatically make it a good time.