One of my fondest food memories is from a day trip to Bruges in late March. It was in this Venice-like Flemish village that I encountered the most wondrous ice cream flavor known to man: Speculoos. If you haven’t tried this cookie-like, gingersnap-ish European delight, you haven’t yet lived. Upon returning to Brussels, I looked for Speculoos offerings at every ice cream stand and could hardly stop myself from indulging in this glorious treat.
Of course there is more to Bruges than divinely indescribable ice cream. The fairy-tale like town is larger than I suspected it would be, and after doing a bit of research, I learned that there are quite a few museums and churches to explore, (both historical and chocolate-based). Meandering the canals away from the tourist-heavy squares is a romantic and tranquil activity, perfect for quietly appreciating the medieval architecture and wandering cobbled lanes. From the picturesque bridges connecting the canals, I was able to catch glimpses of everyday lives of Bruges inhabitants: their private gardens, their favorite canal-side ledge to read a newspaper, their bicycle route to the grocer… It is certainly an all year round tourist destination, but despite the floods of day trippers, Bruges remains a timeless, special place filled with European charm and enchanting scenery. To experience it in its most serene atmosphere, I suggest staying the night, as most tourists are day trippers and the town is seen in its most natural, peaceful state when the sun begins to set over the towering cathedrals.