I might be repeating some things from my last post but f*ck it I want to tell you all about how I feel in love with Bruges on the beginning of my Belgium leg of this crazy road trip.
So when you pull off the motorway and head towards the town centre you feel like you are on a movie set, each of the houses that line the perfectly preened roadsides are pristine and it is a little creepy! We rocked up alongside the canal in our spot for the night in a little park called Kanaaleiland which was tucked away off the main road but has easy access to the town centre through a beautiful park. It was a little steep in terms of our budgeting at €25 a night but it did offer water filling facilities which we found handy. After a quick cat nap (come on I had been up since 4:30am!) We got our glad rags on and headed into town on foot to explore the scenery at dusk. The cobbled streets were narrow and winding and we loved getting lost in the maze of beautiful buildings that adorned each side.
We navigated through the back streets avoiding the tourist hotspots and were led to the CUTEST restaurant “De Vlaamsche Pot”.We indulged on Flemmish beef stew paired with a mountain of freshly made proper chips and a huge pot of white wine mussels. After a surprisingly large bottle of beer and a glass of red we’d had our fill. The staff were so friendly and welcoming that we soon got chatting to them and were informed about the local street food festival s we headed over to find a park filled edge to edge with stalls, trucks, tents and pop ups. Anything and everything you could imagine was there, real fries, bbq ribs, wraps, pizza, candyfloss, waffles honestly I could go on forever… It was amazing!! We headed to the bar and picked up a refreshment, seeing as we couldn’t squeeze anymore food if we tried, and soaked up the atmosphere of this bustling festival. The music was loud and everyone’s in good spirits with a huge mix of people from family with small babies to groups of people ready for a night out. We laughed and tipsily headed home only a short stumble away.
As we woke up a tad fuzzy the next morning we moved the car, you need to leave the site by 11am otherwise you’ll be charged for an additional stay. The glamour of vanlife I know. We pulled up on the road opposite as it was free to park on a Sunday. We popped off our bikes and cycled into the centre. I have never seen to many bikes which made our first outing very pleasant. There were hardly any cars and so once wed had a little ride around we locked up alongside the canal to catch a boat ride. Stepping down onto the tiny and cramped boat I felt soooooo touristy but it was a cute ride that showed us the sights, we got some interesting facts and gathered our bearings. It was only about 30 minutes so we still had ample time to explore this beautiful city and we were raring to go!
We took a stop off at the beautiful ‘love’ bridge, although I don’t know why it is called that but it was very sweet. We then headed to the Belfry tower to climb a dreaded 366 steps to the top. It was so worth it to see the mechanics of the bells and to see how these lovely chimes that ring every quarter hour are played. Spoiler – if you are hoping to see a group of men in robes then you will be disappointed!
We had worked up quite the appetite after that hike up and down so decided to try some of the food on offer at the festival we visited last night. After many walks up and down the stalls Joshua settled on a fully loaded hotdog with lashings of onions and sauce whilst I went for yet more chips with a spicy tomato mayonaise. Before I came to Belgium I had no idea that a cone of chips with mayo was some sort of speciality. I would have visited a lot sooner had I known!
Bellies full and feet aching we cycled back to our van relieve to see no ticket on the windscreen and pulled off in search of a pitstop in Ghent for the evening.