Brugge Trip Report

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Jan 3rd, 2004, 09:15 AM
  #1
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Brugge Trip Report

We just got back from a week in Brugge - left USA on 12/25 and flew back on 1/2. Here were the highlights of our trip:

LODGING
We always do self catering when travelling to Europe. We stayed in the top floor studio apartment at Ridderspoor (Ridderstraat 18). The apartment was the best we've rented so far - extremely cozy, gorgeous view of the Belfry tower (esp at night), even decorated with Christmas lights and greenery, and very centrally located (5 mins to the Burg). The price was 55 euros a night - was worth double the price. http://users.skynet.be/brugge-gheeraert/

CHOCOLATE
We like Leonidas for mass produced chocolate, but our favorite chocolate of the trip was at Dumon...the caramels were the best I've ever had.

BEER
We are beer fanatics and plan most of our trips around beer. We loved 't Brugs Beertje and de Garre of course, but also really like the Erasmus Cafe located on Steenstraat in a hotel. The interior is much more modern than Beertje or de Garre, but it is also very cozy and with a lovely view of the canal in the back. The manager of Erasmus was extremely friendly, and we visited numerous times - great selection of Christmas beers on tap!

FOOD
We are not extravagant diners - we enjoyed the pitalier near the Markt, Taverne Curiosa, Himalayan Indian Restaurant, and The Daily Bread (Het Dagelijks Brood) for breakfast/lunch (and very near our holiday flat). Best frites are at Peter Frituur in the Markt underneath the Belfry. For extravagant dining, our favorite by far is Den Dyver (friendly to vegetarians).

TRIP HIGHLIGHT
New Years Eve at Den Dyver!!!! We had a seven course meal with beer pairing, and the event went on for six hours. The inside of Den Dyver was unbelievably beautiful (decorated for Christmas) and the service is the best I've had anywhere. I am the only vegetarian in a meat-eating family, and the staff was gracious enough to prepare a 7 course vegetarian meal for my dinner - it was phenomenal.

We spent the week walking, walking, and walking. We went to only one museum, climbed the Belfry once, and spent the rest of our time wandering and enjoying the beautiful buildings and friendly people! We will be back.
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Jan 3rd, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Have to agree with the Dumon chocolate mention. My very first Belgian chocolate was a caramel-filled chocolate from Dumon, eaten on a bench in the main square. A wonderful food memory...
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Jan 3rd, 2004, 02:19 PM
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Your trip sounds wonderful. We're thinking of going to Brugge in June when we go to France. How long would you suggest staying? A couple of days? Do you think there will be a lot of tourists at the end of June? Does the place where you stayed rent by the day or only by the week? Thanks!
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Jan 3rd, 2004, 05:08 PM
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Hi RebeccaM -

Ridderstraat 18 rents by a 3 night minimum, but the nightly rate will be 15 euro more than the 7 night stay. I think the rates have also gone up slightly for 2004 - the studio rate for 2 people is currently listed at 70 euro (still a great deal, in my opinion). The studio on the top floor is perfect for 2 - just beautiful and cosy...complete with hair dryer, washer (dryer is in the cellar), fully stocked mini kitchen, etc. Wonderful!

We have also stayed at Drie Koningen which is about 1 block away from Ridderstraat 18. Our studio at Ridderstraat was our favorite, but Drie Koningen is also extremely nice. They also have a 3 night minimum. The website for them is www.kanthuisje.com/d3kon/

I have been to Brugge twice, and each time I stayed one week. I have seen people recommend anywhere from 6 hours to a full week for Brugge. I would suggest that 2-3 days for your first trip would be enough...Brugge is a smallish city and very walkable, but it's perfect for taking your time and enjoying your surroundings.

Unfortunately, I suspect that June will probably be very busy - Brugge was very busy over the holiday week, and it was much more populated than the week we spent in mid-March 2 weeks ago. However, June in Europe is very busy period, no matter where you go! I'm sure you'll still have a wonderful trip.
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Jan 3rd, 2004, 05:14 PM
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One more side note... The folks at Ridderspoor also run a B&B across the street at Ridderstraat 9. The rates for 2 people is 55 euro a night, breakfast included. They only require a 2 night minimum at the B&B.

You can find the apartment rentals on the link above and click "holiday flats." The B&B site is located from the same main page and is on the right ("Bed and Breakfast").
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Jan 3rd, 2004, 05:14 PM
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Ugh New Year's Eve in Bruges, I am so jealous. What a great idea - I was considering Amsterdam but it became too expensive. Thank you for a great report and a wonderful suggestion for next year.
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Jan 3rd, 2004, 09:06 PM
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Thank you so much for this trip report, beanweb24! We will be in Brugge for 2 nights in mid March and we have booked a room for 3 at the Gheeraert's Bed and Breakfast. I am glad to hear that they are so well located and clean.

Thank you also for the restaurant and pub recommendations! We also like to try different beers! In fact, that is how my husband decided he wanted to visit Belgium. He said it sounds like a great place since they specialize in beer and chocolate. His two favorite things!

When you were in Brugge in March, were you able to take a boat ride, or is it too cold?

We will be there on a Friday and Saturday. Will the crowds likely to be very heavy on these days in mid March?

Thanks again for your report! Laurie
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Jan 4th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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Hi Laurie -

We also went in mid-March in 2002, and while the "crowds" were a little heavier on the weekends, it was nothing like what we saw this last time over the holidays. I think you'll enjoy it very much! Mid-March is one of my fave times to travel to Europe - definitely off-season for most places.

The boats are indeed running in March - at least they were when we went (and they were not running over the holidays this time). I highly recommend taking a canal trip!

Ahhh...Belgian beer and chocolate - your husband has great taste. Definitely check out the Dumon chocolatier (caramels are a MUST) located in Eiermarkt 6 (about a block away from the main Markt). Also, if you like curry and you like frites, try the yellow curry sauce for the frites...it's really, really tasty (and a fun change from mayo).

My favorite Belgian beer is Duchesse de Bourgogne. It's a flemish red ale that is unlike any other beer I've ever had - and I've only seen it one time here in the states (oddly in Bethlehem PA). Please tell your husband to have one in my honor.

I am sure you will love the B&B - their apartments were absolutely wonderful...and Paul and Roos are extremely helpful and friendly. Enjoy your trip!
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Jan 4th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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Hi Beanweb, Thank you so much for the suggestions and the beer and chocolate recommendations. We will tip our glass to you in Bruge! Thanks again! Laurie
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Jan 25th, 2004, 07:24 PM
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Laurie,

We also will be in Brugge in mid-March (3/11 through 3/15). We rented a flat on Klaverstraat, near Ezelport on the north side of town. The owners are a nice British family. We are very excited about our first Belgian trip, which we are combining with a week in London. Any advice on shopping for daily essentials like groceries and the like? Will you be doing any side trips while in Brugge? We are thinking perhaps Ghent, the seaside or Antwerp.

Take care, Dan
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Jan 26th, 2004, 08:36 PM
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Hi Dan,
You will be in Bruge a little before us.
This is our first visit to Bruge so I really don't know much about the city, only what I have learned form this site and my Rick Steve's guidebook.

In Rick Steve's guidebook, it says there is a Delhaize supermarket open Mon. through Sat., 9:00-18:00. It is 3 blocks off the market square on Geldmundtstraat. Also a small Delhaize grocery on Market Square, oppoosite the bell tower. It is open on Sundays from 14:00-18:00.

We will probably not take side trips from Bruge, since we will only be there for 2 days. We will be moving on to Brussels after Bruge and may do some sidetrips from Brussels.

Have a great time. Save some beer and chocolate for us! Laurie
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Jan 27th, 2004, 04:36 AM
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I enjoyed reading this very much!
I spent only 3 days in Brugge and loved this city!
I hope to return in warmer weather.
but the thought of being there over the Holiday season sounds even more fun.

The weather was certainly not at it's best, being late October, and it was mostly cool and rainy.
but the one sunny day was spectacualar .
Esp. the foliage reflecting in the canals.

The crowds were bumper to bumper on the main shopping streets on the weekend, but if you walk off the main paths, I walked streets with barely anyone on them.

We had dinner in two places that were enjoyed very much, great food.
1-Tom's Diner -West Gistelhof 23
had great food and is definitely
not "diner-like" in the American sense.
I had Ostrich for the first time .
2-Marike Van Brugghe -Mariastraat17 is a bit more "elegant" and I had a Dover sole there that melted in my mouth.

Both of these can be seen on a sitewhich is either
www.users.pandora.be
or
www. pandora.be

We walked by a sweet little B&B that was right in the Minnewater Park.
It looked lovely and quiet,
The Egmond (www.egmond.be)

My regrets,
trip not long enough
Too cold to do a canal ride
and did not try enough of the beers!

For everyone going, have a blast!!
I bet you will fall in love with this little city.
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Jan 29th, 2004, 01:55 PM
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Beanweb24, thanks a lot for this report. I will be staying in Brugge at the Ridderspoor B&B end of March and can't wait to try out the Dumon chocolates and all the restaurants you have suggested and just relax for a few days.
Cheers
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Jan 31st, 2004, 05:32 AM
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TweetexT - enjoy your wonderful trip! I highly recommend you purchase a copy of the Cadogan Guide to Bruges (2002) - it was our favorite guide and much more comprehensive to the general Belgium guides we got from Fodords, Lonely Planet, and Rough Guide. You can purchase a copy at Barnes and Noble (in person or online).

Have a fabulous trip!!!
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Jan 31st, 2004, 08:06 AM
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Thanks, Beanweb! My husband and I -- both beer-loving vegetarians -- are going to Belgium in April and plan to use your tips.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 10:30 AM
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SZ -

Vegetarian dining in Brugge is somewhat challenging, but you'll be okay. DEFINITELY do Den Dyver. For their typical dinners, they offer a 3 course tasting menu that is paired with beer courses. All of their tasting menu options are meat. However, on their "a la carte" menu, they have at least one vegetarian appetizer and entree. I ordered from the a la carte menu and then requested the beer pairing with my meal - the waiter was kind enough to offer me a third course of dessert so that I had my own little version of their tasting gourment menu. Wonderful, wonderful service.

The pita place is great for take away, light lunch (though you can eat inside, too). I can't remember the name, but if you're facing the Belfry, there is a very small street to the right. Take that street, and it's down about a block and a half on your right (tiny little window to order from the street or you can go inside). They have wonderful falafel, but they were out the last time I went. Instead, I had a vegetarian pita made primarily with feta cheese, and it was (somewhat suprisingly) incredibly delicious!

I'm making myself hungry... Have a wonderful trip!
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Jan 31st, 2004, 10:35 AM
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SZ -

I can't believe I forgot to mention another wonderful vegetarian restaurant called Lotus (Wapenmakersstraat 5). Excellent menu - you'll love it.

For other veggie restaurants in Brugge, go to www.resto.be and do a vegetarian search - it comes up with 5 veggie restaurants (and I believe they have limited their search to either all or primarily all vegetarian cuisine that is served).
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Feb 8th, 2004, 03:45 AM
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We'll be in Brugge in April and you all have made my mouth begin to water and my imagination soar!
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Feb 8th, 2004, 04:45 AM
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Hey Hillview -
Sounds like you have the same itinerary as we do... Amsterdam and Brugge in April! Got a suggestion for you. Take a bike tour of the tulip fields with a small outfit called Let's Go Tours. When we were in A'dam 5 years ago in early May, we were too late for the tulips, but we did another bike tour (called "Castles and Windmills") and it was excellent!
Website:
http://www.letsgo-amsterdam.com/UK/tulipUK/tulipUK.htm
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Feb 8th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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Hi beanweb24,
I really enjoyed this report. I have always wanted to go to Brugge and hope to this summer as a quick stop before going to Berlin. However, after reading your report I wonder if I should wait and go when I can spend more time than one day there. Brugge is definitely on my list of places to go.
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