In Bruges 1: Beer, Geese, Religion, and Beer Belgium

I hate cobbles. I do not care how adorable, quaint, or photogenic they appear. Cobbles are muffins of the devil, sent to drive every wheeled piece of luggage straight to hell.

So it goes in Bruges. We slush through snow, trying in vain to find our hostel. We have no time to look at anything, only which rut will eat our wheels next.

Get a taxi, you say. Well, this is an EU Austerity Drinking Tour. 179 days of travel add up.

EU Map New York To Bruges Day 180Finally settled and fed on bland hostel breakfast, we find a small grocery store and stock up on food. And let us not neglect this Carrefour’s beer selection:

Aside from local pride in beer, Belgium has a morbid fascination with cliche American food:

American Cookies Carrefour Bruges BelgiumMade with real Americans…probably. Tastes like freedom to me. It gets worse outside:

Extra Burger Cheese QuikBut this is our last stay in Belgium.  So we load up on beer and then head back out (a beer post will follow this post soon. Stay tuned).

Bruges, sans luggage, now looks charming, heck, boarder-line cloyingly adorable.

Bruges Adorable StreetIt is impossible to take an ugly photo here.

We pop our heads into churches with holy blood, city halls, and historic buildings. However, actual entry costs 10 to 20 euros everywhere. Tourists must have it rough. So instead, we explore the city. Town square holds a massive tower that chimes constantly:

Countless canals spiderweb throughout the city.  Bruges Adorable RiverCute as they look. It is bitterly cold today.  Even the canals have iced over:

There are more geese than people in Bruges.

UNESCO Bruges Ten Wijngaerde beguinageWe find a bench to watch them attempt to ice-skate.

We stumble into an alley, that turns out to be Bruges old red light district:

Stoofstraat BrugesKnown as Stoofstraat, lads looking for a good time would enjoy steam baths and hot tubs with naked ladies. Sadly, today, it is cold and the baths are gone.

In need of moral rectitude, we visit the UNESCO Ten Wijngaerde beguinage. Once a vineyard, around 1240, pious women set up a cloistered space for beguins. One accesses it via a bridge through a fortified gate.

Inside, Bruges somehow becomes even more silent than before. Whitewashed dorms and work spaces frame a snowy courtyard. Slowly freezing, we enjoy the warm gift shop with countless hand made jams, honeys, and art. We then head to chapel.

Beguinage chapel Bruges BelgiumNow a Benedictine nunnery, we warm up alone in the chapel.  And then, a few adorable old ladies walk in. You may want to turn up your volume:

Later, more wandering finds children after school sledding beneath historic windmills. We consider going into the postcard business.

Windmill Sled Bruges BelgiumWe want to pop into a cathedral but it costs 16 euros. Instead we walk through a seven hundred year old hospital and spend the 16 Euros it would have cost on a meal of pancakes. Fed I make a Japanese-inspired Neko cat (our trip’s mascot) near one of Bruges’ many turreted gates.

Bruges Belgium Neko CatBut that’s the trouble with Bruges. There is far too much to see and do. Entry fees to museums, churches, and the like are outrageously expensive.

So check back for Wayward Wine’s review of the best beers we had in Bruges.







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6 Responses to In Bruges 1: Beer, Geese, Religion, and Beer Belgium

  1. Cobblestones + suitcase with wheels…I know your pain! Pretty city though!

  2. sand110 says:

    Skating geese and cat, oh my!

  3. dwdirwin says:

    Haha- made with real Americans, tastes like freedom! I visited Bruges in the summer many years ago and what I remember most is getting ringed at by bicyclists to get out of the way. Wanted to put a stick in their spokes- how American of me 😉

  4. Pingback: Fresh Hop Butternut Saison Belgian Beer | WAYWARD WINE

  5. Pingback: In Bruges 2: Many Many Beers: Delirium tremens, De Halve Maan | WAYWARD WINE

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