In Bruges

by Jonathan Hurcombe

I’ve been told it is sacrilegious that as of yet I haven’t seen the film. The title works for me and it’s on the list, but of late there are other movies higher up my watch order.  jonathan hurcombe, jonny hurcombe, bruges, belgium, europe, travel, adventure, prices, places, pursuitsBruges has to be one of the most charming cities I have ever visited. That coupled with the ease of getting there via the Eurostar, in my view, makes it one of Europe’s peaceful and characterful gems and a top destination for a short break.

Now as you can imagine there’s a wealth of information available on the place already, but here are few tips I picked up from the local inhabitants.

We stayed very close to the Markt square, thanks to AirBnB, for a reasonable price. I’m yet to have a bad experience with any of the hosts we’ve stayed with. On this occasion, a little white door flanked by two shops on Sint Armandsstraat was the entrance to a traditional Flemish home away from home with rust coloured miniature bricks and the archetypal tall and triangular roof, supported internally by ageing, dark wooden beams.

I feel this might be a hazard in every house in Bruges, but one has to carefully navigate the steep and winding stairway. Not ideal with luggage or for the slightly older folk.

Our host, Sacha, a kind natured German, who’d moved to Bruges for a quiet life, was exceptionally helpful. His pointers put us on to some fantastic places to visit and experience.

So let’s tackle the food:

It’s well documented, the Belgians make amazing chips. A lofty claim, and one that necessitated a sampling of their handiwork. We were directed towards the Markt. Facing the Belfry head on you can see two small green huts a few feet in front of the main entrance. The best vendor is the one on the right hand side. Order the large portion with lots of mayonnaise to achieve maximum satisfaction.

If you want extra brownie points with the locals ask for Friches, and never French Fries. There’s been a deep fried debate going on for years about who invented Friches (say it with me Friches) and the Belgian’s are not keen that the French are at the speaker podium.

jonathan hurcombe, jonny hurcombe, travel, adventure, backpacking, prices, places, pursuits, burges, belgium, europeWaffle House, Ice Cream and Chocolate

Next to the waffles, a personal favourite. Since a young age I’ve been ruled by a raging and uncontrollable sweet tooth. It’s an ongoing struggle requiring staunch resistance to the inner chimp to diffuse the cravings.

However, when in Bruges, it’s only fair to let the sweet tooth loose. Our AirBnB host pointed us to Oyya. On a Saturday the queues grow exponentially throughout the day. Get in line at breakfast time, order extra dark chocolate and be prepared for the sugar rush to kick in.

jonathan hurcombe, jonny hurcombe, travel, adventure, backpacking, prices, places, pursuits, burges, belgium, europe

This is what Bruges is all about. Give me the waffles.

A post shared by Jonny Hurcombe (@jonnyhurcombe) on


After tracking down the best waffles, now we needed to find chocolate capable of turning the cleanest eating, health nut out there into a lustful cocoa addict. Picture the supermodels of Instagram spliced with Augustus Gloop. Speaking to the gents in Oyya, all manner of places are good e.g. Godiva, Leonidas, but if you want authentic Belgian truffles TruffelHuisje was the place to go.


Now this might be considered controversial and I find it hard to believe myself, but apparently Cambrinus makes the best spaghetti Europe has to offer – cue the uproarious protests from the Italians. We didn’t actually end up eating here as we were looking for a good spot for mussels and fries. I can confirm the beer menu is extensive and it would be easy to find oneself stone drunk trying to sample everything. Cambrinus also has a wonderful origin story that makes gloriously wild claims about the invention of beer. It’s worth a visit.

Bistro Brugis – Excellent little place. Tasty food, great beer and quite possibly the most humble owner, who is from Nepal. His kitchen have fully embraced Belgium living, but have sprinkled a portion of home in their cooking by infusing Himalayan spices into traditional Belgian dishes.


Gem was brilliant, in her usual style, and pre-booked this wonderful bistro, Kok Au Vin. For the foodies out there who want well crafted cuisine by talented chefs, you need to look no further. Each dish and its flavours are well though-out, offering the palette and array of delightful taste combinations. They split the menu into four sections: World, Classic, Creative, and Healthy. I was feeling creative and opted for the Scallops (another personal favourite) and was not disappointed.

The Sights:

I won’t go into too much detail about the sights as it’s easy to get a book out from the library and decide what you want to do before going. Personally, I wanted to see a local brewery and was intrigued by the story of the Basilica Of The Holy Blood. I’m not a devout or practicing member of any church or religion, but find any physical evidence for the existence of Christ fascinating. In this instance, a small phial, overtly decorated containing a piece of bloodied cloth that is said to have been used to wipe Jesus’s body following his crucifixion. The authenticity of this artefact is highly questionable to the curious scientific mind, however people flock from all over the world to pay their respects, pray for loved ones and appeal to the mercy of their omnipotent creator. For the full story head to the wiki page:

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