There was the sugar laiden sojourn to Choco-Story, the Chocolate Museum, and our frequent sampling of the ever famous frites or fries, found everywhere around the city, tasting local dishes like Flemish Stew and Waterzooi, but before we closed the book on our Bruge buffet we had to taste some waffles, it would be rude not to!
Wednesday sees the historic Markt come to life as it has for hundreds of years with produce stalls to fill your basket with fresh fruit, cheeses, meats, sweets and baked goods (including freshly toasted waffles for just €1.60, bargain!)
To be honest I didn’t intend on letting little Lucy taste this kind of stuff and eat sugary things like waffles, I don’t know it’s that’s naive of me or maybe it’s irresponsible of me to let her have them at all… at any rate I thought a taste couldn’t hurt. Please note, I definitely don’t let her eat like this often (mum guilt ensues)!
Evidently the waffles went down a treat and my baby girl, like her Mum and Grandma was ever so pleased with the cuisine Belgium served up! And she even learnt a new word, waffle was a bit hard to say, so it was ‘cake’ and she loved it!
Next on the agenda was something I would have never splashed out on without Lucinda there.
Since we arrived in the city she had been fascinated with the horses and carriages, waving and squealing with delight as they passed. The old me would have thought a carriage ride to be an unnecessary expense, and indulgence we could easily do without and I’d prefer to walk, for free, instead. But, Lucy was enamoured with the horses, I knew she would love the experience… And then Grandma decided it was her treat! Gotta love Grandmas!
Lucinda was over the moon with her carriage ride, waving from the carriage like she was the Princess of Bruge and letting out as many ‘neys’ as she could muster!
Seeing her joy made it so special and memorable, I still think it’s not something I would splash out on for me alone, but for Lucy it was magical and I will no doubt recount the journey to her for years to come.
But carriages aren’t the only way to tour the city, the ‘thing to do’ in Bruge (a part from eat and drink) is to cruise the city’s canals in a open wooden boat.
This experience I loved, we learnt so much about the city from our guide and the scenery was stunning. It’s nice to be able to sit back and take it all in, especially since I’m usually the one nose buried in the guidebook reciting historical accounts and trying to work out if we’re walking in the right direction. I was however wrestling a toddler who just wanted to dive in and chase the ducks but all in all the boat trip was something I would highly recommend to families and singles, anyone visiting Bruge really- my must do.
A few more must see sites on my list to take in before our last full day in the city came to a close:
– The Church of the Holy Blood; said to have a fragment of cloth with Jesus’s blood on it, regardless of your religion it is a breathtakingly beautiful church. Originally built as a chapel it’s not the exterior that’s amazing but inside the stained glass windows and detail is heavenly.
– The Church of Our Lady; I had already seen from the outside but I had to venture in to see the white marble statue by Michelangelo of the Madonna and Child. I must say my first knowledge of this statue was from the movie Monuments Men (I’m cultured like that). The Church is going through restorations so it’s a bit haphazard at this moment but still so beautiful. It’s free to enter but if you travel all that way don’t miss paying just few Euro to go in the fenced off section with the Michelangelo sculpture and a collection of other stunning artworks that I would say were equally breathtaking, it’s not all about big names after all it’s just appreciating beauty (and Lucinda slept through all of it so that in itself was a gift from God).
It had now been hours now since our last chocolate hit, and summer in Bruge is far from balmy so we thought it time for a hot chocolate… And more waffles! I found out there is two types of waffles; the doughy almost donut like version we’d tried in the morning and a more crunchy adaptation. It was profound findings from our research, that also included the later smothered with banana, ice cream and syrup! Mmmm waffles!
Research side bar: I now know there is no such thing as ‘Belgium Waffles’ but rather there is the Brussels and Leige varieites. Brussels is the later version we tried, rectangular in form, light and crispy. The Leige is a thicker doughier version, that is more rounded and more like a donut in taste… But better! Mmm waffles… have I mentioned I love Bruge, because I love Bruge!
Walking off the sugar high we made our way back towards the Markt along Steenstraat, the main shopping street, lined with boutiques and of course chocolatiers… maybe just a few more morsels to take with us.
Soon dinner time was looming… The food tour continues but I wasn’t up for trying something new and wanted my beloved Flemish Stew, mmm slow cooked beer saucey goodness (great for a one year old with no molars as well)!
Oh Bruge my belly is full, my mind a wonder with new knowledge and face left with a beaming smile from the amazing experiences we’ve had over the past few days!