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Bruges’ highlights

Bruges parks index:
Astridpark
Hof Sebrechts

Bruges Restaurants and Cafés
Belgium’s national dish is steamed mussels with pomme frittes (and don’t ask for “French” fries). Beer washes this large meal down well. Most Market Square restaurants have it on the menu (but beware the other fake local recipes), with choices of steaming style (white wine, herbs & butter, or this thick soup concoction advertised as “provincial”
style).

Meat lovers will like De Hobbit, just off the square on Steenstraat, where there is an all-you-can-eat spareribs platter. Passage is inside the hostel of the same name (okay, De Passage, on Dweerstraat), and specializes in vegetarian dishes and local cuisine. De Dijver is food guru Jamie Oliver’s restaurant: expensive, but you’re getting an Oliver, n’est ce’pas?

For authentic Flemish cuisine at reasonable prices, visit Pas Partout (Carmerstraat), where you can decipher menu entrees such as “Witloof en hesperolletjes” and “Worst met puree.” Get it? And for cheap eats, check out Médard for Italian food, just west of the square (Amandsstraat); and Baggins for sandwiches (Kuipersstraat) till 6 a.m. on weekends.
bruges_4
Bruges Nightlife
For such a small & traditional town, Bruges knows how to party. The best clubs are a bit out of the way because of noise ordnances. Joey’s (Steenstraat & Zilverstraat) belts out Jazz & Blues; De Top (St. Salvatorskerkhof) is built atop a cemetery and features local surf, gothic or punk bands; for beer enthusiasts, ‘t Brugs Beertje (Kemelstraat) serves all Belgian brews; Vino Vino is Bruges notable wine bar (Grauw Werkersstraat), with tapas for snacks; Bolero is the only gay club in Bruges, but at least there’s one (Garenmarkt).

Bruges Festivals
Cinema Novo: For ten days in March, cinema Lumiére holds its world movie festival. Check each year’s program at www.cinemanovo.be

Flea Market: All of Belgium knows of these one-day-per-month (July–Sept.) fleas. Antiques Roadshow it ain’t, but vintage junk that could be your junk.

Cactus Festival: In early July for three days, Minnewaterpark (east of train station) invites pop, rock, and world music stars (past acts: The Proclaimers, Rufus Wainwright, The Tragically Hip) for outdoor sounds. Check the year’s program at www.cactus festival.be

Klinkers: Ten days between July & August. A wide mix of classical, world, and alternative music is staged at indoor and outdoor locations around Bruges. Check the year’s program at www.klinkers-brugge.be

bruges_5Bruges Hotels and Hostels
Sure you can stay for a few days, or even a week. But if you’re an expatriot, why not stay a whole season? Bruges apartments can be found; you need only look on this inter-web thing (it’s gonna be big someday!).

If you haven’t stayed in a hostel over the last 20 years, try it. Lots of them cater to couples and families, including Arthostel (Havenstraat), Bauhaus (Langestraat), Snuffel (Ezelstraat), and Europa HI-Hostel (Baron Ruzettelaan) The vast majority of dorm rooms I’ve stayed in European cities are clean, and the people you room with are respectful, cool, and helpful to just-arrived travelers. And lots of hostels have bars on the premises, with barbecues happening on weekend evenings.

Bruges Transportation
Bruges Central Train station is three kilometers from the city center. Taxis abound, but the bus system works efficiently, and buses leave from directly outside the station. Schedules are listed at the kiosk. Watch for any bus that says “Market” on its route sign and you’ll get into the town center. An unlimited day pass costs around €3; single rides €1.20.

(return to Bruges’ main page here

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