Thursday, 15 August 2013

Interrailing, part 2: Brugge

View from the Belfry
Second stop on our interrailing adventure was somewhere which could not be more different to bustling, modern Amsterdam. Brugge is a city in the province of West Flanders, Belgium. It's mostly famous for being the location of the film, In Bruges, a dark comedy starring Colin Farrell. It's a quiet, fairytale-like place with beautiful canals and lots of history. It was the perfect place to have a rest after busy Amsterdam and chill out before heading onto the capital cities of Brussels and Berlin.

Hostel: St Christopher's Inn- Bauhaus. 7.5/10
This hostel wasn't so close to the train station as the last but it was easier to find that we expected. The instructions on the website tell you "You can take bus 6 or 16 (going every 10 minutes). The driver will tell you which stop you take for the Bauhaus. " and that is absolutely true. It sounds a little odd, but just mention to the driver that you're looking for the hostel and he'll call you when it's time to get off, and point you in the right direction. The journey takes about ten or fifteen minutes and you'll get to see a little of the town on your way. It wasn't as wild or bustling as our Amsterdam hostel but it was a great place to stay! The bunks are great. it's the only hostel we stayed in which gave curtains to each of the bunks, so you got a lot of privacy. Although we did had the pleasure of one guy near us assuming he had a little more privacy than he actually did.... sex noises in hostels are just not ok.
Belfry and central square
Considering we were there at the weekend the bar wasn't as lively as it could have been, however we did go to bed a little earlier than most, as we were pretty exhausted, and many other travellers did find enough to do for a good night out in the city. The bathrooms were clean and large and the rooms were quiet as we were in one which was a separate complex to the main bar. Breakfast is free and the internet connection was brilliant, it even stretched to the rooms. You can also catch  a "In Bruges" special film city tour from the reception. They also have bikes for hire which would have been fantastic had we been staying longer as the city is very bicycle friendly. 

The city: We fell in love with Brugge. It really is beautiful and we all agreed we wished we had a little more time to relax there. I can see it being the sort of place I'd love to go to year after year, just to relax. the main thing to visit is the Belfry tower a medieval tower located in the central square. The top gives you a great view of the whole city. The other main thing on our list was to have our first REAL Belgium Waffles. Which of course were fantastic. In fact on our second day we checked out the Chocolate museum and saw a live chocolate cooking demonstration. We really didn't give ourselves enough time for it so make sure you have around 2 hours to really enjoy it. We also had a few drinks at De Republiek , a cool open plan bar with wood interior. A rum company were doing promotions that day so we were handed free mojitos within 20 minutes of arrival! However more than anything the best thing to do in this city is to just wander around. As we were only there for around 24 hours we didn't want to spend much time inside. The streets are gorgeous, especially around dusk.
Ask Becca to order you a drink and she brings a jug. That-a-girl!

Beautiful canals
Tips: The bike advise applies to here as well, I was inches away from serious injury in the central square... kind of embarrassing. Take money out when you can as we found it a little hard to find ATM's off the central square. However do venture out of the square when you want to eat as it can be pretty pricey. We searched quite a bit but eventually found a street full of affordable cafes and restaurants. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of that street now... sorry! Other than that, just relax and enjoy. This is a city to slow down in and spend your day eating chocolate. Oh and do watch 'In Bruges' before going, I didn't and I regret that! It's really good and would have been hilarious to location spot.  

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