This trip to Bruges was ten years after my first visit where I was a ‘supervisor’ on a school trip, oddly it wasn’t too dissimilar – spending most of the day wandering the winding streets and ducking into pubs with no particular plan (though slightly more relaxed not having to watch out for teachers catching us drunk and underage).
Tired from our early ferry trip from Dover we dumped the van at Vlaanderen; which we soon realised had no toilet facilities and very few bushes.
Though little more than a car park it was very conveniently located and, within only a few minutes walk, we were in a bar drowning our sorrows at our first rookie campervan error.
After a leisurely walk taking in the sights it was time to deal with our accommodation woes. Li O Lait coffee shop was a perfect safe haven to escape the thousands of other tourists that had also descended on the small city for Easter.
The chilled out vibe, colourful decor, friendly staff, speedy wifi and great coffee defused a potentially very stressful situation; we both gave in and decided that we were going to have book a hotel.
The boyfriend and I ended up staying at Hotel Koffieboontje; definitely not a 5* but with a super central location, free breakfast, toilet and shower we had nothing to complain about. Dumping our stuff it was time to explore the city at night.
A friend had recommended De Garre a bar though only steps away from the main market was discretely hidden down an alley and away from the tourist trap.
We climbed the dark wooden stairs of the cosy pub to find a seat on the second floor.
Asking the waitress what she would recommend from the extensive drinks menu we both went for their own brews ‘Triple van de Garre’, a Blonde with a bite at 11.5% and the dark ‘Gulden Draak’.
The Triple came served in a goldfish sized glass, on a paper doily with cubes of mild cheese which was not only cute but a nice unexpected touch.
The beer was so good that we had to stay to try the other house brew, I could have happily remained there all night but by that point it was 10 and we still hadn’t eaten.
Not having much brain power after De Garre we only managed to stumble as far as T Zand Square for a quick bite and a giant Kwack before passing out.
I wouldn’t go as far as Colin Farrel when he said “Maybe that’s what hell is, the entire rest of eternity spent in fucking Bruges” but for me a quick one day stop off was enough to enjoy Bruges without getting bored, or damaging my liver to the point of no return.