The last full day of the holiday and what a place to spend it. Titchy’s main desire for the holiday was to visit Bruges and that’s exactly where we were heading. We had done our homework in the week before the holiday by watching ‘In Bruges’ on Netflix. Now the kids weren’t happy about this as, being under the age of 18, their attention span doesn’t allow them to follow a feature length film. Putting them to one side, it had whet our appetite and we were excited about it.
We headed up the road to an independent bakery for breakfast. If you imagine Greggs but with a fur coat on, you will get the idea. We had delicious pastries and coffee, the tea wasn’t great, but you never get that outside of the United Kingdom do you?, so we were on a great footing for the day.
The 14 year old didn’t make it out of the house, he was at the age where sleep is more important than food, and so we brought him back a lemon drizzle cake and he was delighted. We then made the short hop over to Bruges.
We parked up in an underground car park at ‘t-Zand just out of the centre and walked into town through narrow streets and lovely buildings. The centre was very tight and I would hate to have to drive a van around the town! It was impeccably clean and you get a very serious sense of history and tradition.
We made our way through the Site Oud Sint-Jan which we learned, by listening in to tour guides, housed works by Picasso and other esteemed artists inside a former hospital. Then, just around the corner, we crossed over the lovely Boniface Bridge which is also known as Lovers Bridge. Legend has it that, having crossed the bridge, the first person you see will be the person you marry. I suspect a lot of people in Bruges will be married to fat American tourists.
Within an hour of landing in Bruges we were taking in the third majestic building, St Salvators Catholic Cathedral. It was grand, it was over the top and it was a beautifully cooling and tranquil space. Despite being an atheist, I lit a candle in remembrance of my Dad, had a little cry and off we went.
Having watched the film ahead of our trip, it felt like I already knew the centre of the town, the area around the Belfort tower and town square. The shopping streets surrounding were absolutely crammed full of tourists and you soon became sick of the repetitive chocolate and beer shops and fighting your way through crowds of camera wielding tourists.
We took lunch at a Turkish restaurant and spent a few hours walking around the streets and taking in the sights. We (Itchy and Titchy) were having a great day, the kids very much saw this as a waste of time and they didn’t like the amazing historic town that the rest of the world seemed to love. Maybe if we had shown them a YouTube or TikTok video, they would have approved.
We didn’t make it up the tower, a combination of the time slots being filled until later in the afternoon and very angry children who didn’t want to wait around made up our minds that we were done. We walked the long way back to the car park along the river bank and through parks.
We headed back to Ghent for our last night out. We ended up in a lovely little Italian spot called the Borsalino San Marino. We were well looked after by exactly the sort of person that should look after you, an older and very happy and exuberant Italian that fussed over the kids.
We rolled out of the door and headed to a little bar just down the road. As designated driver I wasn’t included, but shots were taken and beers bought, even for two of the underage kids. That’s what being on holiday is all about isn’t it?
The only stress of the day was trying to work out how to apply for the ULE zone exemption which took me days of trying, even after I got back home, and to this day….I still have no idea if a fine will catch up with me one day!