Can you find free chocolate in Bruges? Yes!
We have just one day and night in Bruges, so we'll have to make the most of it. We’ll be arriving from Paris mid-morning and our plan is to drop our bags at the hotel and spend the day exploring on foot. Experience tells me on day three or four of any trip, the adrenaline starts to die down and while we think we've beaten the jet lag we crash by mid-afternoon. So I’m banking on a nap – and happily so!
None! But we have purchased a Rick Steves e-guidebook, which includes a detailed self-guided walking tour that we’ll use as our starting point.
Just about everything! We’re going to let curiosity and energy levels be our guide – and dip into the guidebook if we want a little direction.
After a few days of travel, battling jet lag, and gorging on Parisian pastries, we’re going to get back on track in Bruges. We made sure our hotel included a breakfast buffet with plenty of healthy, hearty options, including hot selections, cheese, meat, and fruit.
Sometimes getting great value means paying a little extra, and that is exactly what we did when we booked our hotel. We spent a small amount of money to upgrade to a canal view. We’re in Bruges to experience all the city’s lovely architecture and romantic waterways and we want to soak in as much of the atmosphere as we can.
Splurges and Souvenirs:
I’m not going to hold back on trying plenty of Bruges' famous chocolate. Quality chocolate isn’t cheap, but I think it will be worth every penny.
Things improved considerably once we arrived in Bruges. The sun came out and once we hit the cobblestones I was rejuvenated. I love small European cities for their instant navigation - despite all the twisting lanes we just kept our eyes on the church spires to easily make our way to the city centre.
We were able to employ a favorite strategy of ours for affordable dining: One of us orders the value priced Table D'Hote, with both of us enjoying the appetizer and dessert, and the other just orders one main course. At Bierbrasserie Cambrinus, Ryan ordered the economical Table D'Hote and we split his delicious appetizer of Trappist cheese croquettes (unbelievably rich and decadent), as well as the creme brule made with dark beer for dessert. For a main course he enjoyed their signature Flemish Carbonades prepared with “Gulden Draak” beer, which was a savory beef stew, while I selected the half roasted chicken with salad and fries. The portions were huge, the service was good, and the prices were even better. My chicken dish was just 12.50 Euros, while Ryan's three courses were 25.95 Euros. Two huge mains, a generous appetizer, and a just-right sized dessert for less than 40 Euros made us very happy indeed and it was fun to try food made with local beer as an ingredient.
Of course, no trip to Bruges would be complete without some of the famous chocolate! Happily, we enjoyed over a dozen pieces, all without paying a cent! Well, not exactly.... We paid for our hotel directly via their website (as opposed to a third party booker). Our hotel, and many others, offer free chocolate as an incentive for direct bookings and since their prices were identical to those offered elsewhere, it worked out to be an excellent deal for us. 250 grams chocolate worked out to be about 15 assorted pieces, which was more than enough.
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