I hadn’t given Belgium too much thought in terms of a holiday destination; okay if I’m being really honest I hadn’t given Belgium much thought at all. When Hugh suggested Bruges for a weekend a quote from Colin Farrell’s character in the movie ‘In Bruges’ best summarized my thoughts on the matter…
“Bruges? I didn’t even know where Bruges f***ing was. It’s in Belgium”
Initially we had hoped to jet to Portugal or somewhere warm, however the last minute nature of our plans meant we had missed the boat (or plane) and switched our focus to a ROADTRIP! Planning and preparation are not my forte, I manage to fly by the seat of my pants in most situations however I managed to apply myself to the task at hand and book our weekend, one night in Bruges and one night in Antwerp, complete with must eats, must-dos and accommodation sorted. It was in the midst of our weekend planning that I had a sudden epiphany. An epiphany that caused me to hang my head in shame. How could I have written Belgium off so quickly? How had I feigned such ignorance? How dare I suggest we go somewhere else? Belgium was firmly in my heart, in my blood. I have fond memories connected to Belgium chocolate, Belgium waffles.. heck I’d be in love with Belgium slice and biscuits my whole life! I was embarrassed that I hadn’t immediately connected the dots, but I was more than ready to discover this (delicious) northern land. It was in short period of time that I discovered Belgium is known for it’s ‘chocolate and frites’ my two favourite pass-times. All that was holding me back was my inability to pronounce the word Bruges, which annoyed Hugh to no end. I spent the car ride practicing… it’s Bruges, with a J sound, silent S, FYI.
I managed to find a room at Hotel De Tuilerieën which is where the cast of ‘In Bruges’ stayed. I knew this going to make Hugh very happy as it is one of his favourite movies. And by ‘very happy with me’, I meant more likely to condone the acquisition of an obscene amount of chocolate to take back to France. So without further ado, I present snapshots of our time in Belgium…. including waffles, chocolate and the most amazing crème brûlée known to mankind. I also have a new lens, so I am really hoping you can see some variation in the photos. Not only am I know thrusting a camera in Hugh’s face every five minutes, he has to deal with the switch between lenses and my panic when I think I’ve forgotten an important attachment. The poor bloke..
Arrival into Bruges
The sitting room, where Ralph and Colin drank whiskey together and discussed how best to drop two dress sizes in time for their next big movie roles
Think four posters are ‘weird; and ‘medievel?’ THINK AGAIN! This right here was the most comfortable spaceship from dinner to breakfast and I am now an advocate for four posters
Canal view from the bedroom window. Colin Farrel stood here, smoked a cigarette and yelled at a Bruges babe out the window “Show me your Bruuuuuuujes”
Part marshmallow, part bed
After unpacking we set off to dinner… without an umbrella. Which was a strong move…
Handy wind machine just out of shot for Windswept Canal photo shoots. So thoughtful of the Bruges mayor to install it…
Really got my 2 euros out of it…
Strolling to dinner
A chocolate shop window. I’m sad I used a Bruges/boobs jole earlier… I could pretend you didn’t notice but I know you have eagle eyes… so how about this, “It was a bit nippy on the walk to dinner”…..
The majestic belfry
The rain is only moments away. My freshly straightened hair and I are blissfully unaware…
With the drizzle turning into dropples we made a quick restaurant decision based on proximity and it turned out to be one of our best
Belguim beer, the best beer I have ever tasted
For his main Hugh chose Rabbit, which he described as ‘a cross between steak and chicken’ hmmmm….
Look at me, the Condiment queen! Sauce forever! My head was heavy at this point of the night, it was tilted in appreciation of the fantastic chicken salad which included sultanas! This salad has inspired me to add strange things to my salads at home…
Leaving the cosy restaurant to the rain outside, without an umbrella… bit of a highlight..
The rain did not stop me from whipping out my camera, it was a risky move but worth it
After yogging around the streets of Bruges in a daze we found a restaurant happy to serve two drowned rats dessert
Just looking at this photo is hard for me. I can’t express to you the way I felt about this dessert.
Oh chocolate torte, if I were Colin Farrell I would have got my ‘diva on’ and demanded you everyday, everywhere.. on shoot, in my hotel room… I dream of you…
SATURDAY MORNING and time to repack my bags, bags plural, that wasn’t a typo. 5 pairs of shoes and 4 jackets for one weekend. I am officially president of the OPA (over packers anonymous). The anxiety I feel about trying to play god and predict the weather can be debilitating. As my fellow OPA’ers will attest too, my motto with packing is “more is more… and then add more”
In the midst of operation re-pack
finally Hugh gets all the bags in the car and tries to recover from being called “Mr Morrison” during checkoutand we are off to breakfast
but not before some scenic shots
Synonyms of the word Magical: extraordinary, remarkable, exceptional, outstanding, incredible, phenomenal, unbelievable, inconceivable, unimaginable, amazing, astonishing
This may from the outset look like relaxed holiday Hugh, but this is the face of a hungry hungry man
his stomach gets the better of him and he’s off, map in hand
The cafe seems to be hiding from him, panic sets in
I follow behind… Hungry Hugh waits for no man!
at this stage I fear for my cameras safety
like a shiny pink beacon he spots it…
Direct quote from H – “Lets order and then talk”
Here it is
when your breakfast arrives in three parfait glasses you are a bonafied class act
Thats until the main course arrives…..more swirl, more swirl
Hugh managed just enough composure for the first photo but could wait not longer
With breakfast done (thank goodness) we head back out to the streets on a mission to scale the Belfry (bell tower)
Hugh, now with full stomach, resembles a normal person again and “oohhs” and “aahhs” his little heart out
Horse & cart, or bike, are the main transportation in Bruges… not together… don’t be silly..
340 steps later we were on top of the Belfry!
Bruges from above..
after calling Bruges the most incredible place in the universe I feel pangs of guilt… I love you Paris..Please forgive my gushing…
but that town though…
Back on ground level we stumble across a special sight..
clogs out, the Flemish dancers tore up the street
And after watching the locals and their routine that puts Miley’s latest work to shame I drag Hugh off to the CHRISTMAS SHOP!
After much begging I was allowed to buy two decorations. I now own a Snow Globe!! WIN
The cuckoo clocks reminded me of my childhood and the clocks in my Grandad’s shop
We pressed on, our path obscured occasionally by horses and fabulous females on bikes… How her hair stayed like that I will never know
This scene has the makings of a fantastic cross promotional advertisement for a pet and human shampoo product… keep your mane silky
the scene of last nights dessert moment. we clapped and I performed a curtsey as we walked by
Hugh is in a very accommodating mood and allows a canal happy snap
A marzipan shop, photo for Olive Brown
canal posing in direct sunlight, very squinty work
much better if you just turn around (I didn’t pay this photographer don’t you worry he was too bossy and tall for my liking)
We purchased chocolate from two stores…
I do not recall a reindeer by the name of Randy. But he was there with Santa and his bell, so it checks out.
“there you are you tasty bearded man you..” please don’t take this quote out of context, it applies to above photo only
We bought the dark choc and almond. Hugh struggles to say Almond without pronouncing the L and it sends me into fits of laughter “we will have some of the dark chocolate ARLLLLMOND please”
Because nothing is better than chocolate, unless you’re talking alcoholic chocolate
Visiting Bruges in her fabulous fur coat, you go girlfriend! #BrugesStreetFashion
Waffle shops. That’s what the world needs more of, love and waffle shops..
The New Zealand Auckland store. I will reserve my comment on the likeness of model to New Zealand men
Our time in Bruges was drawing to a close but we had the most Bruges-iful (that’s a stretch I know) time…..
Of course the one hour drive to Antwerp required food provisions so we stopped off at Balls & Glory
It was a starving Creative/Graphic Designer’s dream..
Can you get more trendy cool? Nope. And don’t say ohhh but in Melbourne/Auckland/Wellington.. shush your mouth, this is in Bruges, Europe wins. Every time. The end
Balls to go! Hitting the road to Antwerp with balls on board…
More Synonyms applicable to Bruges astounding, stunning, staggering, marvellous,magnificent, wonderful, sensational, breathtaking, miraculous…
Where to sleep in the most dreamy four poster bed and feel that bit closer to Ralph and Colin – Hotel De Tuilerieën
Where to eat the best creme brulee and chocolate torte – Maria van Bourgondie
For lunch, or as a take-out option you’ll eat the most interesting and incredible balls here – Balls & Glory
If you like breakfast, who doesn’t? And your bae likes eggs and bacon, (most do), go here! – Gingerbread Tea-Room
Looking back over this post I feel like a proud uncle who has sat his nieces and nephews down to take them through his travel slideshow in a painstakingly slow manner. And poor little Jenny is dying to use the bathroom and is sitting cross legged on the carpet making a T motion with her hands but I just can’t let her miss not even ONE of my shots because they were all so good and I am such a great photographer good and isn’t Bruges MAGICAL!
Sorry if it felt like I was your uncle, and sorry if you felt like Jenny.. you’re free to go now….