If it were possible, then I would’ve wrapped my arms around Bruges, hugged it tight, and kissed its cheek in gratitude. Because while I held my breath in Brussels, I found peace, quiet, and balance in Bruges.
I adored it dearly, particularly its essence. Despite being minuscule in scope — which I found rather alluring — it was modest, warm and inviting, and its beauty was timeless. It is to date, one of the places from my travel diaries that I cherish the most.
Bruges made for a convenient and enchanting day trip out of Brussels, being about 1 hr 20 min away by train. No reservation was necessary, either, for trains from Brussels to Bruges left regularly throughout the day.
When I arrived at the centre of Bruges, I was surprised by how quiet it was; it might’ve been the cold weather, but there weren’t many travellers or tourists roaming the streets that day (something I secretly celebrated in my mind).
The first waffle I ate in Belgium was actually in Bruges (I had the strawberry waffle when I returned to Brussels afterwards). It was a plain waffle from Chez Albert, and it was so scrumptious that it set the bar exceptionally high for the waffles to come. That, plus the almond croissants I had in Paris, were my favourite sweet eats throughout my whole trip! The waffle was warm, sweet, dense, and oh so comforting. Y’s had caramel on top, and one bite of hers had stars and baby chicks circling my head.
I learned that there are two types of waffles in Belgium: the Brussels waffle and the Liege waffle. The waffle here was a Liege waffle, which is irregular in shape and rich and dense, with caramelized sugar baked inside. The Brussels waffle, on the other hand, is rectangular in shape with clearly defined edges and is lighter and fluffier. The strawberry waffle in my previous post was a Brussels waffle. After having the Liege waffle in Bruges and in Ghent, I can say that I liked it much more than its Brussels sibling.
Walking along the canal with Y was calming; we were the only two around who weren’t locals. We walked continuously with no plans in mind and were greeted with some lovely sights, and even lovelier people.
One of the fondest moments for me was simply walking along the sidewalk and exchanging smiles with passersby. A simple gesture, to be sure, yet it was the simplest of things that prompted me to develop a sentimental attachment to Bruges.