It’s a perfectly preserved miniature city frozen in the 15th century and particularly wonderful in springtime. From one of only 30 small boats allowed on the winding canals, you can come up close to the gabled medieval buildings, some of them with Venetian glass windows and some with faded wooden frontage. We loved the boat, in and out of the banks with swans nesting amongst the sprawling daffodils. Bruges is incredibly stylish, the interiors have that perfect blend of old wooden floors, slate grey walls, beautiful art works and big, bold vases of flowers. And then there’s the chocolate. Every second shop is filled with exquisite hand made chocs, in the shape of dinosaurs or beer bottles or even macabre-looking breasts. But never mind that, it’s the melt in the mouth tastes that win you over and get you in a swoon as they wave these little silver trays towards you piled up with pieces of chocolate. Try one, see if you like it, they say, so you kind of give in, forget about cholesterol, and think, What the hell, let’s just hop from shop to shop and gather momentum until we work up an appetite for lunch. We sat outside the little hotel drinking a lot of Chardonnay, just where Colin Farrel jumped out the window and into the canal in that pretty gruesome and not very funny movie, In Bruges. Later Colin’s friend jumps out the medieval Bell Tower and splat onto the cobbles in the exquisite Market Square, but we didn’t venture up there because I’d had too much wine by then and was worried I’d end up the same way. It’s a great few days and we drove there, after that lovely ferry crossing from Dover, and it only took an hour from Calais to Bruges. Didn’t even know when France became Belgium, it’s all the Eurozone these days, and before I’d learn’t how to say thank you in Flemish we were back in London and it was all over.
SharonSpeak on April 11th, 2010 by Sharon Feinstein