Fries, mussels, chocolate and beer? We must be in Belgium! Self-proclaimed chocolate capital, Bruges prides itself on its outstanding chocolate. Little boutiques and shops are lined up in almost all the streets in the city center, throwing chocolate into your face. For chocoholics, the chocolate museum might be for you.
I didn’t really feel like eating chocolate that day (I know, heretic! I blame the preceding Christmas holidays) but had a cup of hot chocolate to warm up.
There is also the beer museum and the frites museum to chose from. We visited the latter one which gave a brief history of the potato and french fry (which is not French, but Belgian). Legend has it that the Americans were introduced to their national food by Wallonians (Belgians from the French speaking regions) and thought they were French, hence the name. Their mascot is creepy as hell, I wanted to include a picture but just couldn’t bring myself to upload this atrocious thing.
At the end of the museum, there is a shop were you can get authentic Belgian fries. It was okay, but the smell of grease was a bit off-putting, to be honest. It is a nice place to visit if you have time on your hand in Bruges or are really into fries, but I would not say that it is a must-see.
Unfortunately, Bruges is incredibly expensive, €20-for-a-bowl-of-chicken-soup-expensive. So for lunch, we shared a large box of fries with Joppiesaus, a Dutch condiment similar to mayonnaise with onions and curry. It was not very good but the small shop still attracted a lot of customers due to their relatively low prices.
I would recommend you try the local speciality of Moules Frites at least once. It is a pot of mussels served with a side of fries, so perfect for tourists to try two foods in one meal (we skipped the fries since we already had two portions during the day – gotta watch out for calories!!! xD).
I don’t think there is a moules (mussels) museum to complete the foursome, but maybe in a few years…
Other foods typical for the Flanders region are different meats and fish. And chicoree, for some weird reason.
There are, of course, other things to see and do while in Bruges, like the Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed (Basilica of the Holy Blood) where you can see a vial that contains Jesus’ blood.
Or visit the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady) to see one of the few pieces by Michelangelo that left Italy. It is quite small and well protected so that a lot of the details are too far away to be seen.
Another cool spot is the begijnhof (beguinage). Spot the old lady and the white swans!
Bruges by day:
Bruges at night: