Simple Pleasures: Bruges

Ever since I returned from a lovely short break to Bruges, Belgium, I have been trying to find a spare hour or two to sit down and share my experience, but got totally caught up in meeting friends, planning, teaching, writing reports, partying… I have just been generally very busy, which is great, but I have also been longing for the little bit of quiet me-time that this blog gives me. So here I am, taking the opportunity of a coach trip back to London from Oxford to sit and indulge in this little bit of peaceful self-expression.

Returning home and immediately getting swept up in what seems like a whirlwind of activity only seems to highlight to me just how much my trip to Bruges was a much-needed escape to a tranquil, very attractive little town where it was possible to enjoy the simplest of pleasures. I have decided to compile a list of these things to share with you today…

Simple Pleasure 1: Spending some quality time with Mum

It was the first time that my mum and I had actually gone away together and I had been really looking forward to it. Bruges was a great location for us as we both enjoyed meandering the narrow, cobbled streets and taking in the beautiful scenery of the canals, bridges and distinctive buildings on the water’s edge. We also enjoyed a bit of shopping, sampling chocolates and biscuits in the numerous confectionery shops, as well as going to the more modern clothes shops, and other unique boutiques. And the best part of going shopping with Mum is that she always makes sure to treat me to a few gifts along the way 🙂

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Simple Pleasure 2: Chocolate

Belgium is famous for its chocolate, and in Bruges, there are chocolate shops in what seems like every street, every couple of paces, and, as you walk by, you are not only tempted by the sight of piles of perfect little sweet-treats in different shapes and sizes, but also by the delicious smell wafting out of the stores as you pass by. It is impossible to resist…

Simple Pleasure 3: Drinking beer in the sun

There is something really relaxing about sitting outside by the water, soaking up the sun, enjoying the warmth on your skin and drinking a cool, refreshing, light beer. I enjoyed it when I lived in Spain, and in my summer visit to Amsterdam, and it seems as if whenever I am “on the continent” and it’s warm and sunny, it would be a shame not to. Mum didn’t partake in this… but I enjoyed myself!

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Simple Pleasure 4: Sunbathing in the park

During our visit, the weather was quite changeable and not particularly warm until the afternoons when it was perfect weather for sunbathing in the park. After spending a lot of time on our feet exploring Bruges, lying down in the sun was so relaxing that we both fell asleep (turning our pale British skin a little bit pink… typical tourists!)

Simple Pleasure 5: Fresh Fruit from the Market

Although we were quite touristy on our visit to Bruges (in that we did the whole boat-trip-on-the-canals thing, bought lots of chocolate, and got sunburnt), one of the things we did that the locals do is visit the market place on Wednesday morning, which was filled with different food stalls and flower stalls. I bought a traditional Belgian bun (delicious) and we also bought some fresh cherries, which we took to the park with us and picnicked on them before we fell asleep.

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So that’s the last of my list; it might not seem like the most adventurous holiday, but if you just want a peaceful retreat, where you are guaranteed picturesque scenery, delicious confectionery and tasty, refreshing beer, then Bruges will be your ideal destination. I hope you enjoyed reading and that you enjoy looking at the photos… now I have to get back to being busy again!

Jo

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