Been There, Done That: A Weekend in Bruges

NOTE: Hello and greetings to both of our faithful blog readers! (Ha, ha, we’re kidding. We’re just pleased that one of you was able to give out the Best Blog in USAFE award. Which, by the way, we did win, so we thank YOU!) Anyway, you will probably recall we offer viewer submissions on their recent travels throughout this continent. It’s a big job to do, but, judging from this story from Tech. Sgt. Andrew Kehl of the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, it’s well worth the trip! Why not submit one yourself? Send it to 52fw.panews@us.af.mil and impress your friends with your worldliness on an award-winning blog! OH YEA-A-A-A-A-AH!!!!

If you are looking for a perfect weekend getaway, look no further than the setting of the 2008 film “In Bruges.” That’s right, that picturesque little town with a miniature Venice feel is only a short drive away from Saber Nation.

Simply take the A60 toward Liege and follow the signs to Brussels/Ghent, and you will eventually arrive in this canal-based northern city.

Bryges-Canal

With only a weekend at your disposal, I thought I would provide you a few tips to make sure you get the most out of Bruges in such a short time. Here are six things I think are noteworthy for a perfect way to see something great, without burning that hard-earned leave:

1. Stay near the Markt—This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the pin drop of this city. Aside from the historical highlights that include the 12th-century belfry and Provincial Court, the square is where all the action is. I recommend Hotel Algeria, as it provided a nice little B&B experience with an above average breakfast included with quiet rooms nestled off the street. Safe, affordable and near the action? I’ll take it!

2. Drink Beer [Responsibly!!!]—I thought I was cool going to St. Vith for my Belgium brew needs. Whoa, I was wrong. The little cobblestone streets in the city are lined with shops offering hundreds (yes, I said hundreds) of different Belgium beers for sale. Be sure to check out the Halve Maan Brewery, the only brewery in the city for a nice 8 euro tour which also happens to come with free, unfiltered Bruges Zot (means Bruges town idiot) beer! When you are ready to buy yourself some brew-gifts, head down to The Bottle Shop on Wollestraat where your wife will know what it feels like when you are stuck in Forever 21 or H&M.

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3. Enjoy the nearby Cafes-Bruge has so many cafes, it may be hard to decide which one to relax at. Well, don’t worry, I got your back! Right around the corner from Hotel Algeria is Sorbetiere De Medici. Go upstairs for a cool view of everything happening below you. This is a nice, warm place for a cup of coffee and a delicious Belgium waffle. Afterwards, head down to the cathedral to see Michelangelo’s “Madonna with Child.”  In the evening, walk 25 steps down the road and have a world-class brew at Het Hof Van Rembrandt (no, not the toothpaste.) Whatever you do, just don’t forget to try a waffle because it hits the spot regardless of time of day.

4. Take a boat tour-For less than a meal at Golden Dragon, you can take a nice little 35-minute boat tour through the narrow canals that run through the entire little town. This is a great way to take in many of the sights as well as meet new, interesting people.

5. Eat at ‘t Zwart Huis-A very popular place, be sure to make reservations in advance. It is well worth it though. They have live music along with amazing local food upstairs. If you want a quieter atmosphere, head downstairs where the ambiance is candle-lit. Either way, you can’t lose by eating at that place Saturday night.

Bruge_Markt_Beer

6. Drink more beer [Even MORE Responsibly]-I know, I already said this. But, there are so many beers there! Go down to “2 be in Bruges” and you can even have a Westvleteren on the spot!

Being stationed overseas is all about travelling. To me, Bruges is a place many people save up for just to see.

We have the privilege of being just down the road so it would be a crime not to gas up the car and [responsibly] enjoy a little weekend in this fascinating city.

Have fun! [But always have a plan: NEVER drink and drive, always have a designated driver/thinker and have money for cabfare. If you’re nearby Spangdahlem, check with your recall roster if you’re in need of help or call Airmen Against Drunk Driving at 0656561-2233 for 24/7 support options to safely get you back home!]

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