Bruges is one of the most visited cities in Europe and a world heritage site. It is one of the cities that is being loved to death and is looking at how to reduce tourism without killing it. So we are here with all of the tourists trying to enjoy the city.
When you get here you see why it is popular. It has most of its older buildings intact and is a great size to walk around and take in the sites. On top of that it has an extensive canal system that makes it feel even more fun and interesting. The entire town is a UNESCO site and for good reasons.
Having said all of that we we are here in shoulder season and it was packed. It is not a place to visit if you do not like crowds. We usually avoid crowds but braved them today and are glad we did as the city is really worth it. There is not one thing that is truly outstanding, but what you have is all of the pieces of a European City, palace, cathedral, market square, old houses and businesses and they are all well preserved and presented. In this case the sum of the parts is greater than the individual parts.
The aire in Bruges is next to a giant bus lot for all of the tour busses who come to the city each day. The aire is expensive but the location is good as it is a quick 10 minute walk to the center.
We had a list of things we wanted to see and do. One of the highlights was a visit to a chocolate shop that is known for outstanding hot chocolate. This was absolutely the best hot chocolate we have ever had. When our order arrived we thought they had made a mistake because we received two very large cups of hot milk, and a tray with two heaping servings of chocolate. The girl explained that we put the chocolate into the milk and mix it ourselves to taste. It was unbelievably delicious. In addition to the chocolate we split a Belgian Waffle with chocolate, whipped cream and ice cream. It was decadent, the best desert we have had on this trip.
After that we spent the day enjoying ourselves wandering around town. Ton ran the battery down on her camera taking photos. Bruges is one of the best cities we have visited to just wander aimlessly as there is a new view, or statue, or people doing interesting things all around. We accomplished all of our list but the canal boat ride as the lines were crazy and the boats were gunnel to gunnel going down the canal.
We ended the day with a stop at at the Half Moon Brewery which has been around for six generations now. We enjoyed two of their signature beers. Even though it was our last planned stop we still took over an hour to get back to François as new sights beckoned us to turn aside all the way back.