Our last city break of 2017 turned out to be one of my favourites of the entire year. Last December one of my best gal pals Nina and her boyfriend Jamie joined Joel and I for a little road trip to beautiful Bruges.
When researching how to get to Bruges we found that by far the most cost effective and quickest way for us to get there, was to drive. We left work on Friday, drove to Folkestone and caught the shuttle to Calais, from there it was about an hours drive to Bruges which meant we made it in time for dinner. Simples. We parked at the Pandreitje underground car park which was right in the centre about 5 minutes from our hotel, so super convenient and much cheaper than anywhere else we found. After a quick check in we went straight out for drinks at Le Trappiste where we had our first beers of the weekend.
We stayed at the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce hotel which is in the perfect location and actually incredibly reasonably priced (after Stockholm, everything is reasonable to be fair). Joel and I had a room overlooking the canal which was amazing and while we were there we found out that it was actually the hotel that Colin Farrel jumped out of in the movie In Bruges (if you need any more reasons to go to Bruges after reading this then watch that movie as it captures it beautifully).
Bruges is totally doable in a weekend, the actual city is really small and everything is within walking distance. I had a few things on my list after the usual instagram research of what i wanted to do, mostly it was hot chocolate and waffle based if i'm honest so when our hotel gave us a suggested walk of the city we quickly passed the map to geography pro Jamie and he led the way. Our first stop was the love lake and lovers bridge which is aptly named as it's home to a bevy of swans.
We were there in December so it was predictably chilly which gave us plenty of reasons to find places to warm up throughout the day. The Old Chocolate House was top of the list so we headed there and joined the queue, it's understandably popular. Before long we were ordering up 4 hot chocolates please. These hot chocolates weren't just regular hot chocolates though, no no. In Bruges, they bring you a cup of hot milk (vegan options available!) and the chocolate combinations on the side so you make your own... and they're not stingy!
Bellies full of chocolate we decided to give our feet a break for while and take a tour of the city by boat. I would highly recommend this tour, it's not too expensive and worth every penny as we found out loads about Bruges (including the fact about our hotel that we were blissfully unaware of!)
Whatever you do make sure you add a trip to lizzies waffles to your todo list for Bruges. One between two is plenty they are HUGE trust me. By far the best waffles i've ever eaten.
The boys wanted to watch some sport and Nina and I wanted to warm up so we parted ways and Nina and I headed back to the hotel for an hour before meeting up for dinner. We booked a table at Le Petit Patron which was a speciality fondue place. Being that I don't eat meat or cheese i ordered the scampi, after some confusion it became apparent that Joel thought we were sharing the scampi (he also ordered cheese fondue) which then lead to our first seafood related argument. Maddie doesn't share scampi. LOL. After dinner we went for drinks at one of the many underground bars and played cards before heading back to the hotel past the beautiful city square with it's stunning symmetrical buildings.
Both days we had breakfast at That's Toast which was a cute little place that ticket all our boxes. Healthier bircher / granola options for me as well as all the french toast and full english style breakfasts for the others.
After watching In Bruges I knew we couldn't leave without a trip up the bell tower. Despite the mist we braved the steps and made our way to the top. Bruges is gorgeously gothic and slightly spooky but in the prettiest way possible.
It was so nice going away with another couple and Nina and Jamie are two of my absolute favourites, we laughed all weekend long. After a few more snaps it was time to head home.
On our way back we stopped off in Dunkirk as it was on route. I have to say i wouldn't recommend it. Dunkirk has largely been forgotten about which is sad considering the history of the beaches, we didn't stay long.
And just like that we were home again.