OTHERWISE KNOWN AS: WAFFLES EVERY DAY AND ON SATURDAY, TWICE
Date of Travel: February 2014
Travel By: Car and Eurotunnel
Length of Trip: 6 days
Travellers: a Mom, a Dad, an OlderBoy (age 9), a YoungerBoy (age 5)
Itinerary: Day 1: drive into Bruges, evening to explore, Day 2: Bruges, Day 3: Brussels, Day 4: Bruges, Day 5: Ypres Day 6: drive back to the UK
Base Camp: We stayed in a self-catering apartment in Bruges the entire time. It was just outside the gates to the city, near the windmills. The house was fantastic and the 15 minute walk into the city in the morning was easy ... but at night when everyone was tired, we wished we had opted for a rental right in the heart Bruges. Still, it was an awesome place and we can recommend it: http://www.3-kings.be/.
Travel Tips: We drove our own car during this trip and used the Eurotunnel from Folkstone to Calais. It took less than 25 minutes to cross UNDER the water to get to the other side. So easy, so fast, no sea sickness on the ferries, no airport annoyances, and whatever you can fit inside your car is yours to take. I would highly recommend taking this way all the time. Let's build a US-Eurotunnel!
Now, driving in France and Belgium require a few things to be inside your car, including breathalyzers, warning triangles and one of those fluorescent vests, to name a few. We just picked up an all-in-one kit at the AA store in the shopping area right before you board the Eurotunnel train.
Trip Report: We arrived at our Bruges apartment in the evening, so we unpacked and got some groceries from a nearby store for the night. We were close the windmills, so detoured over for a visit.
Windmills in Europe are magical.
Day 2: We thoroughly walked around Bruges, which is an absolutely charming city, with beautiful bridges and lovely architecture. As true tourists, we took an overpriced canal boat ride, gorged ourselves on waffles, chocolate, mussels, and beer (for the adults), and walked into a church for a glimpse of the only Michelangelo outside of Italy. We also had ribs with chocolate sauce and it was good!
Michaelangelo's work, smuggled out of Italy by a Belgium collector, taken by Hitler, brought back by the Americans.
His and hers.
Day 3: We drove to Brussels (a little over an hour away), parked by the Atomium (but did not go in) and took a train into the city. Honestly, the city was not doing it for us. It was a muggy day, so we ate waffles to cheer ourselves up and headed over to the Royal Museum of Art (only OlderBoy and I appreciated this) and then to the Belgian Comic Strip Center. It's not designed for children and it's really missing an opportunity to make it kid-friendly.
Brussels has waffles, so it's a great city.
Day 4: Back to Bruges! We headed up the Belfry for a beautiful view of the city, wandered through the Wednesday food market, and took a walk over to Minnewater to meet up with the swans.
View from the top.
Day 5: Ypres. We toured some WW1 sites, including the British Cemetery, the Passchendaele Museum and the In Flanders Field Museum. Of the two museums, my entire family enjoyed the Passchendaele Museum the most. There were very informative displays, a re-created bunker that you could walk through and get a sense of how the soldiers lived, and an outdoor walk-through of a trench, my boys' favorite part!
In Flanders Fields museum.
Day 6: Our last day. We managed to sneak back into the heart of the city to go to the Church of the Holy Blood, which actually brings out the vial of Holy Blood on Fridays fora viewing. Then, a pack out and we head back to the Eurotunnel. It is definitely my favorite way of travelling!
We're only open on Fridays.