PASSPORT IN HAND.
WHERE AM I HEADED?
Well there is a big clue in the title for you all, but for my snapchat audience my last day off posed that very question to them.
I had finished work at 7pm last Tuesday with little in the way of plans for my day off the next day. Ticking something off my list seemed appropriate – drive in another country? That is when a very impromptu day trip on the eurotunnel showed up.
£30 later tickets had been booked for a 6.30am crossing and 10.30pm departure back. Who says days off have to be dull?
I frequented France regularly when I was younger, and I would never turn down a trip there as I feel so at home.
Wednesday called for something different, but driveable. Bruges was a college trip for me, but you don’t get to see the best parts of a city on a college trip, an hour and a half from the eurotunnel – done.
I’d done little research into what to do whilst there but I wanted to find the right balance of doing activities and not feeling rushed or feeling like I was missing out.
Driving into Belgium we stopped in a small town called Jabbekke – purely because it sounded like Jabberwocky and made us laugh for some peculiar reason. I donned my big boots and climbed into the drivers seat.
I’m lucky enough to adapt quickly to things, it’s a blessing and a curse but this time was lucky. Driving around Jabbekke did not seem too challenging so I found myself on the motorway headed to Brugges, before long we were actually there and I was driving around the city centre. Parking was my downfall and it wasn’t my car so we pulled up and swapped before exploring.
Walking around Bruges central square was beautiful! Immediately I knew I wanted to climb the Belfry tower to see it from above, but it was quite cloudy and due to clear up soon so we headed to a 10am brewery tour – because why not!
The Half-Moon Brewery
The half-moon brewery is Bruges longest standing family run brewery with a lot of history. It is famed in Bruges for having built a pipeline underneath the city when they opened their bottling factory outside the centre in 2016. Locals joked about tapping into the pipe for unlimited beer as well as them uncovering lots of historical artifacts when the project was going on.
I’ve never been on a brewery tour before, the best fact I heard was one of their beers is brewed in different recycled kegs each year. These kegs have imprints of their past alcohol which transfers to the beer for a unique taste. It’s certainly one way to keep punters returning. Previous years have played host to spirits such as port and cognac.
The views from the chimney were beautiful.
Trialling unfiltered Zut Blond topped the tour off.
The Belfry Tower
Next on the adventure was climbing 366 steps of the belfry tower. 366 does not seem like a lot at all but it must have been the way it was laid out that made it challenging. Nonetheless worth it to see the stunning views from the top.
A repeat watch of In Bruges is needed after this trip.
We felt like we had seen the highlights of Bruges, 230 miles from London, we may as well make the most of it – so next headed to Gent.
Gent isn’t one of the tourist hotspots of Belgium but definitely has some unique places to see. After a little bit of shopping (I couldn’t resist when I saw one of my favourite shops that does not retail in the UK) we headed to the Castle – Gravensteen.
Next was time for some famed Belgium waffles, weirdly we didn’t opt for this in Bruges but it was just too early there. I had a light waffle – there are two types, with nutella and banana. The highlight was a Gent specialty that came complimentary with my coffee – Cuberdons. It is a sugary triangle of violet and berries.
Finally we headed to Graffiti street for some incredibly vain but much needed photographs.
Gent had a lot of hidden gems, it seemed like an eclectic blend of art deco in the off-track square, traditional architecture and modern shopping buzz.
I need to return to visit the Shoe bar (a bar with over 500 beers and they serve them in glasses shaped of shoes that are so big they take a shoe as a deposit so you don’t steal it, they put it in a basket and raise it to the roof!) and see more of the sights that are less tourist driven.
Driving back we arrived in plenty of time to visit cite-europe, a shopping centre next to the eurotunnel. We took a detour into the largest beer and wine shop that I have ever see and realised it was very much a place wives leave their husbands when they want to go shopping as there was a bar inside. It offered tasters of beer but these patrons were certainly doing more than tasting. I had a unique fruity beer – not a favourite but I wanted something light for the journey.
There’s not much to say about the return journey, the crossing was bumpy and there was at least 6 diversions on the way home but climbing into bed for as much sleep as I could get before a day of work topped off a fantastic day trip to Bruges and another thing to tick off my list!