Travel Diary | Winter in Bruges

reading time: 4 min



Only few things go better together than a historic town like Bruges and Christmas time. The beautiful medieval and gothic architecture with tiled roofs and brick houses, cobblestone streets, swan-spotted canals and horse-drawn carriages create a truly magical atmosphere. There's lights and Christmas wreaths and hot chocolate everywhere, and the old step-gables houses from the 13th century are actually called "gingerbread houses"! It's like stepping into your very own romantic Christmas card or like a fairytale come true.

After spending the summer in Bruges last year, I knew that I wanted to come back to Bruges in winter at some point. And since the 8th of December marked the five year anniversary of my boyfriend and me, we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to return to Bruges. We stayed there from Friday 6th (St. Nicholas Day!) at night until Monday 9th in the morning. On the night we arrived we actually accidentally ran into some kind of city marathon with live music and Christmas-y cheerleaders which was super cool!

The only thing "missing" to make this experience even more festive and cosy is snow, but in a time of climate change and global warming, that was not meant to be this time. (However, I'm determined to return to Bruges when it's covered in snow one day 😉)

Unfortunately the B&B we had stayed last time (B&B pickery) was booked out already, but we found another great option: B&B Verpoest (however, this one is not available anymore either - turns out we actually were the very last guests there! What are the chances?!)


Saturday


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Coat: Zero (thrifted)
Jeans: Earnest Sewn (thrifted)
Sweater: H&M (old)
Boots: Tamaris (old)
Beanie: Tchibo (thrifted)
Gloves: Thinsulate (old)
Scarf: ? (old)
Bagpack: ? (handed down from my granny)




Like last time we paid a visit (again) to the market square (Grote Markt) with its Christmas market and the 12th century belfry at the heart of the town, the Church of Our Lady, the Old St. John's Hospital, the brewery Bourgogne des Flandres, the St. Bonifacius Bridge aka Love Bridge (terribly, terribly crowded this time of year!), the Beguinage (seen above), and of course Minnewater Park with its numerous white swans and the Lake of Love. Mostly, we strolled through the streets and enjoyed the wintry atmosphere :)

While strolling, we also discovered an awesome church called the Church of St Magdalene at the Koningin Astridpark, displaying a sign reading "Magda's coffie bar". We couldn't believe it and went in – and indeed, there is a self-service coffee corner, as well as an eerie room filled with suspended swan feathers, and a large swing hanging down from the dome ceiling! Apparently there are also temporary exhibitions every now and then. I can imagine this being quite a controversial topic, but personally I like the idea of turning a church into a more vivid and joyful space (instead of the otherwise rather "lifeless" graveyard atmosphere – although I also deeply appreciate the tranquillity and sacredness that comes from the dignified silence!) If you ever visit this church, I recommend you sit on the swing and lightly swing with your eyes closed – it feels like you are floating through space! Such a peaceful, connected and yet "dissolved" feeling, almost trance-like.

As for food, we mostly lived on bread, hummus and raw veggies – and tons of gingerbread and speculoos, lol. However, we did also stop by at a few places to eat such as The Olive Street Food where we had the vegan pita wrap with grilled vegetables, and the "House full of passion for Wine, Music and Art" Atelier Flori (I write more about this one at the end of this blog post). Since our favourite café from last time (Books & Brunch) wasn't open on weekends, we went to the Vero Caffè instead where we enjoyed a rich hot chocolate with oat milk and a slice of vegan banana chocolate cake – yum! 

We also waited in line for a good half an hour at the Old Chocolate House Brugge where they serve huge – and I mean huge – mugs of hot chocolate! We went for hot almond milk with dark chocolate, cinnamon and chilli 🌶



Sunday


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Coat: Zero (thrifted)
Skirt: H&M (old)
Tights: Tchibo (old)
Boots: Tamaris (old)
Headband: festival market 
Scarf: ? (old)

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Since it was our fifth anniversary on Sunday my boyfriend and I wanted to celebrate our day by eating out at a special place. We looked up our options on HappyCow and saw a wine bar that served vegan finger food called Atelier Flori known as the "House of Arts". Honestly, this is such a great place! It had just recently opened, and I hope it stays for a long time because it doesn't only offer great wine (I went for the vegan white wine Retro Verdejo - El lager de Moha - Spanje Rueda) and delicious snacks ("hapjes") such as a tasty vegan cashew "cheese" dip on a cute étagère (see picture below), but also cool artwork to look at and live music on Sundays! Such a wonderful atmosphere :)




Until next time, Bruges! 



Maisy

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