I would classify myself as moderately patient. I can count to ten and wait. I can stand in line and smile. But after over an hour of lining up outside the Belfort in Brugge, I began to question this side of myself slightly. How much longer could I justify, when we were only in town until the evening? And would it be worth it if we did finally make it to the top without our boots freezing to the chilly flagstones?
Thankfully, despite the longish wait, we managed to make it to the front of the queue without becoming ice sculptures, and began climbing the 366 steps to the Panorama level at the top. The Belfort, or bell tower, was built in 1240 and has survived fires and lightning strikes to remain the central feature of Bruges. The views from the top were certainly panoramic, and a just reward for both the wait and the twisty climb!
Looking down on the Christmas Markets from the Belfry
One of my favourite features of the Belfort were the little markers pointing to towns and cities both near and far – Paris is high on my wish list for 2014!
Gin and I descending the tight turns of the staircase
Back on the ground, we had time for some more sight-seeing before boarding our train back to Brussels and London. Being us, we chose to spend some of that time in the world’s best-smelling biscuit shop. Juliette’s is an artisanal bakery just a few steps away from the main square and produces hundreds of speculoos, the delicious spiced Belgian cookies, as well as nougat, meringues, fruit cakes and much more. I loved watching the production of the goodies right in the back of the shop and catching amazing wafts of aroma as the ovens opened!
Festive goodies in production
It was fantastic to wander the streets of Brugge and soak in the incredible atmosphere, from the fairy-tale buildings to the public art to the beautiful canals. It’s compact enough that you can sneak a peek down any street that takes your fancy and know that you’ll never be too far off course… and if you are you might be about to discover something amazing!
The City Hall in the Burg Square
Kate and I trying the Christmas Leffe
Posing on the bridge by the Church of Our Lady Bruges
Bruges was everything that we hoped it would be, from the cute little Christmas markets to the gorgeous buildings and delicious food! I would love to come back again some day to wander the canals again.
Bits & Pieces
The Belfort is one of Bruges’ most popular attractions but due to its age and the tight space the amount of visitors at any one time is restricted, so arrive early if you prefer not to wait in line for long!
Entry to the Belfort costs €8 for adults, €6 for 6-25 year olds, and under 6’s are free – more information here