Friday, May 31, 2013

BRU: Daytrip to Bruge

Monday began with instant coffee and water.  We got dressed and tromped down to the train station for breakfast of croissants and a bacon and cheese Panini.  We didn’t choose to eat the hotel breakfast because my tweens don’t eat what other people assume is simple, efficient breakfasts.  I refuse to pay 7 Euro for something that doesn’t give them something they will enjoy.  We are on a field trip afterall.

We took the train to Bruges.  The weekend trips were half price, but this was full price for three of us and free for the other two on a Monday.  It was a smooth easy ride to the Bruges train station.  We walked into the info office to collect a map of the town.  We found the boat trip first and were pleasantly given an orientation to the city by water.  There was a rain shower during the tour, but the boat ride included umbrellas for everyone.  We found the Markt and Belfry tower right away. We walked through the information center there and sent a postcard at the postal center.  We ate frites and chicken nuggets at a self-serve place on the corner.  Then we moved on to the VisitBrugges app tour.  It took us winding from churches to bridges to Spook houses.  We made one wrong turn and mistakenly found a super market at just the right time to buy 2L of water and 3 Kinder chocolate eggs with toys inside that we didn’t find on the November trip to Vienna and Budapest.  Our tour ended at the Burg where we found chocolate to eat and expresso to keep the caffeine headaches abated. 

On the walk to the Markt again, we found a heavy, liege waffle booth for a snack and a street performer who pretended to be a statue-top-hat-suited man.  While lounging in the Markt square under clear blue skies, my oldest tween asked the information center representative for the pronunciation of Beguinage.  On the walk to that site we found a lace shop where we bought a handkerchief with our daughter’s initial on it and pieces of art which showed the places we visited in spring colors.  Before reaching the Beguinage, we found the De Halve Maan (Straffe Hendrik) Brewery which we knew about from TripAdvisor.  The space inside the pub area was comfortable for us and our kids, so we adults tried 2 of their beers without doing the tour.  The chemistry of the brewery would be fun to use in a field trip, but this was just the right thing to do for our trip at this time.  After finishing our beers, we found the Beguinage and walked thru the daffodil strewn garden peacefully.  We walked through the Minnewater park on our way back to the train station. 

Found tourist map (free) at station and quite worth it, b/c it had all streets and sites plus we used the Bruges app for scavenger hunt walk 3.5 miles after the boat ride in the rain.  Boat 3.4 € twins each & 7.6 € adults 30" ride in 3 languages with umbrellas.  It was good to recognize some places afterward on foot. Highlights of boat were touching underside of bridges & less crowded boats early in the day. If on foot during rain we would have got soaked.  The houses over the water and other architecture were better seen from water.  Walked to Markt & found wc at info center. Then frites & everything fried across to the next corner for lunch.  Then we started app tour, but only went wrong way during tour to and found grocery for water & cultural experience (we visit international groceries often just to examine where stuff is made).  We ended at Burg and found chocolate to eat w/ coffee. Drank & ate in the Markt.