Bruges is one of the most loveliest cities in Europe. My first trip to the city was inspired by the movie In Bruges. The few hours I spent in the city on that day trip from Brussels only whetted my appetite. I realized during that trip I needed a full day and night to truly explore Bruges.
So that’s what I did following my Amsterdam Adventures.
Getting to Bruges was quite painless. I just booked a train ticket from Amstemdam to Brugge Station.
Three hours later, following a short stop in Brussels to change trains, I was checking into the Grand Hotel Casselbergh.
GRAND HOTEL CASSELBERGH — Rating 3 out of 5 Stars
The Grand Hotel Casselbergh served as my lodging for my 2-night stay. I was able to book this 4-star hotel via Interval International using my Diamond Resorts International timeshare points. The hotel was lovely and only a 3 minute walk from The Markt.
You can feel the warmth and elegance the moment you walk through the doors.
The room and hotel checked every one of my lodging requirements, and check-in was smooth. I also loved how they enforced the COVID protocols. All guests had to wear wristbands. The guests’ vaccination status determined the color wristband and what access the guests had to other areas of the hotel. I was fully vaccinated, so my wristband allowed me access to all guest areas.
And yes, the hotel made this requirement known to all potenial guests via its website and reservation confirmation emails.
My room was a nice size and clean. I especially love having a bathtub after a long day of walking and exploring. Breakfast was also awesome. Standard breakfast food, but the hint of elegance and class made it worth the €15 extra I paid when I book my reservation.
I would’ve given this hotel a 5-star rating if the Wi-Fi in my room worked properly. But what really upset me was when I reported this to reception on the first night, the receptionist’s response was, “Well no one else is complaining about it.”
I really hate when customer service representatives use this as an excuse not to address an issue brought up by a paying customer. I didn’t argue with her. Rather, I returned to my room, used my hotspot, and contacted hotel management directly. The Wi-Fi problem wasn’t fixed during my stay because they couldn’t arrange for the contracted technician to come before I checkout due to COVID protocols. I thought this was a poor excuse, but I’ll give the hotel management some props for trying to resolve the issue instead of using the “No one else is complaining …” excuse.
Another issue that resulted in loss of stars is the misinformation I received from another receptionist. I asked her twice if I could purchase a bus ticket from the bus driver. She told me “Yes” both times. I learned this wasn’t true, after waiting an hour for the bus. The delay caused me to miss my train back to Brussels. I managed to get a taxi to the station and catch the next train, so all wasn’t lost. But it still irks me.
BRUGES AT ‘K’NIGHT
I’m not a ‘K’night owl by any means, but I will take some time to explore some night life activities. Generally, I stick to more safer options like the theatre or an organzied dinner. I came across The Bruges by Night tour while searching the ‘Things to Do’ section on the Visit A City app.
I haven’t taken a walking night tour since the ‘Jack the Ripper’ tour I took in 2014. That tour was a waste of money.
The Bruges by Night was awesome! The fact the tour was FREE was even better.
Louis was a great guide – professional, funny and knew his stuff. There was no doubt he was proud and happy to show off his city to people who really want to learn more about Bruges.
The tour was small – thank you COVID – and moved at a reasonable pace. Although it was dark, Louis made sure the group stayed safely out of the roads and watched out for hazards along the way.
Bruges is a beautiful city by day, and I’m ecstatic I got to see how lovely it is at night.
RESTAURANT DE GOUDEN KROES — Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
The tour ended at a local hostel. Louis invited us to join him inside for a free beer. I passed on the free beer and made my way to Restaurant De Gouden Kroes, where I had a reservation.
The restaurant wasn’t too busy, thanks to COVID restrictions. The restaurant was pleasantly appealing, wasn’t loud, was cleaned and had appropriate lightning. I mean I could read the menu without having to use my mobile phone’s flashlight. Customer service was decent, and the wait staff didn’t hover.
Prices geared toward the expensive side of the budget scale, but I always budget for two fine dining meals during my travels, so I was good. Nevertheless, I avoided the ‘market price’ lobster choices and ordered the Seafood Soup and Dover Sol Fish Special.
Both dishes were flavorful, tasty and filling. Also, my bill wasn’t as much as I expected, so that was a plus.
CITY LIFE PHOTO SAFARI
I spent the next day exploring this wonderful UNESCO World Heritage city.
One of the more curious things I noticed during my exploration was the number of restaurants offering mussels as their daily special. A quick Google search provided me with a nice history lesson.
Mussels were prepared in Belgian homes, especially during the wintertime when there was a shortage of fish and were a cheap alternative and quickly adopted by Belgian families.
Interesting history. However, I love seafood anyway, so I decided to enjoy this tasty delicacy.
MERIDIAN – Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
I chose Meridian because it offered the best priced lunch special: mussels with fries, drink and a dessert.
The meal wasn’t much of a highlight, but there was nothing to complain about either. Mussels were cooked thoroughly and the fries were tasty. The chocolate mousse was okay, but tasted more like Jello pudding than mousse.
My visit to Historium Brugges was pretty decent. I booked the Historium Story and Virtual Reality combo ticket online, saving about €5. What a nice experience. The tour takes you back in time to experience the bustling city of Bruges during the Golden Age between the 12th and 15th centuries, when the city was a bustling trading post. The tale of Jan van Eyck’s apprentice is the focus of the tour.
The Historium Virtual Reality was really neat. I kept reaching out, trying to to touch things as I flew by 15th-century architecture, including the Water Halls, and a large storage area that stood on the Markt Square for five centuries. However, I felt the ride was too short.
Overall, I loved learning more about medieval Bruges and highly recommend a visit to the Historium Brugges.
Almost forgot — the tour included access to the panoramic terrace, which provided a specutlar view of The Markt. I also enjoyed a nice glass of sparkling cranberry juice at The Duvelorium for €5.
Not a bad way to enjoy ‘K’nightime In Bruges.