Walking Brugge, Belgium Without Regrets

Brugge is the perfect Medieval European town says the travel literature. The streets are not to be missed. The buildings are remarkable. The shops are a buyers paradise. I suppose all that is true. Unfortunately, we passed through Blankenberge first, and saw a glimpse of something I really did want to see that day. Blankenberge seemed to me to be where Europeans go for fun, Brugge where all the rest of us congregate. Neither was a disappointment, but Blankenberge called to me as I passed through.

 

IMG_3332The port where our cruise ship anchored was not an easy walk-off location, so we took a bus to the town center of Blankenberge. Through the rain, we ran to the train station, bought our tickets to Brugge and waited. It was during the waiting that I noticed some of what Blankenberge had to offer. The rain passed quickly and I noticed modern shopping streets, clean walkways, sea-side fun, a pretty town center. But we had already bought our tickets, so when the train to Brugge came along, we got on.

A short ride later, we stopped at the wonderful train station of Brugge. I wanted to take my time here, but the medieval Brugge with its travel brochure appeal lay ahead. We followed the crowds. Once inside the tangle of cobbled pavement, a waffle aroma wound around the entire street and convinced me to try this delicacy: a Belgium waffle in Belgium. It was the best part of my visit to Brugge. Sweet, crisp and – oh-that fragrant whiff.

Fabric shops, trinket stores, all the things tourists expect were there. It was all delightful, and a bit fairy-landish, like a caricature of the medieval town it really is.

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delightful

It was delightful, and we even got a bit lost – something that always makes a place more memorable. Most importantly, we walked. Soon enough, we walked back to the train station, where I had just enough time to explore a bit before the return trip to Blankenberge. For many Californians, transit stations are a bit of a curiosity, and ones that are built underground are even more so. There is so much life in these beautiful underbellies – out of sight, almost secret. I found excellent coffee underground at the back entrance. I window-shopped regular neighborhood storefronts and wondered at the rates of all those currencies at the exchange. I heard a sudden rain storm from above, and felt the good fortune of being dry. Then we stepped on to the train back to Blankenberge.

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We walked up the broad shopping avenue, passing the many fine clothing stores and stopping in at the neighborhood market. I looked at all the manner of coffee there was to purchase, at the pastries, the cleaning supplies, the style of the shopping baskets. We walked the entire distance to the seaside and then walked along a magnificent shoreline. Nearly deserted in early May, it was the perfect setting for simply viewing a lovely coastline and appreciating the elegant design of a boardwalk. Sometimes it’s not what you planned to do that becomes memorable, but what you do without the planning. I walked back to the train station glad that Brugge, a perfectly fine stop along the way, wasn’t all there was to my visit there.

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From Brugge (and Blankenberge) to Rotterdam, The Netherlands next stop
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24 thoughts on “Walking Brugge, Belgium Without Regrets

  1. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Scarecrow fun in Kettlewell | restlessjo

      1. We just walked the whole time, apart from one day in Ghent. Hardly went into a shop (except for groceries as we had an apartment – and chocolate of course) so you can avoid all that if you wish.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, you packed in a punch on one day! The blue skies in Blankenberge are a treat. I’m not very fond of built-up coastlines, but I’m glad you liked one of our most popular seaside towns. So nice that it was a quiet day. I love Belgian waffles as well. Did you get the sugar “round” kind (Liege) or the rectangular kind (Bruxelles) that needed some powdered sugar and other goodness?

    Liesbet @ Roaming About

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your sentence “Sometimes it’s not what you planned to do that becomes memorable, but what you do without the planning” resonates with me! In fact, it could be a great motto as so many of our best travel memories seem to happen despite or in addition to our planning. And the thought of eating Belgium waffles while in Belgium just seems totally right! Anita

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true for me, too, Anita. And somehow those – sometimes very small – unplanned moments are the ones that stay with me. I know you were going to be in the US sometime – are you back in Portugal yet? We are passing through Portugal in late September…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We arrived in the US August 18th and have completed a couple of legs of our trip so far, New Jersey and Virginia. We just arrived in Georgia this morning and then on to Louisiana and Texas… Portugal seems so far away! We’ll return at the very end of September. What are your plans and will a meet up be possible? That would be so fun! Anita

        Liked by 1 person

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