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Part Two - Brugge, Izegem, Gent, Oostende, De Haan - 16th to 20th February

Posted by Thom Aikman on 02/27/2003 04:33:49 AM

Part Two - Brugge, Izegem, Gent, Oostende, De Haan - 16th to 20th February 2003

Here are some categorised comments on the second part of our stay based in Brugge.

Sightseeing and Walking

Brugge is still the most magical and delightful cities to spend four days in mid-winter. Canals still frozen solid in most cases. Most cafes, except Beertje, are quiet and accessible. Only beware the opening times and renovations and plan accordingly. Interestingly, Matt posted that I had said that the Erasmus was closed for renovation. I am doing so now. It re-opened on the Wednesday. Matt, you are telepathic.

Also, when are they going to replace all the terracotta tiles on the new Concert Hall?

Hotel Room Upgrade Saga

We were staying at the Hansa Hotel in Brugge, just off the Eiermarkt.

This is a four star hotel, which we thought would be an excellent base for our trip. No problems with breakfasts and the room initially. However, work started to renovate some rooms on our corridor. We complained that the smell (paint/solvent?) was getting into our room. As Paulette had a cold at the time, she was more sensitive to this. The hotel's response was to air the room during the day and spray the air vents. This had limited effect, as you could taste the smell as you exited the lift. We asked for a change of room/upgrade, which was refused. We then called Cresta Holidays, who offered to pay for an upgrade to a luxury room, if we were happy that the room was free of poisonous odours. It was, and we stayed there the remaining two nights.

The Hansa is now definitely off our hotel list for any return visit to Brugge.

The Coldest toilets in Belgium

Please feel free to add your candidates, but the Kroegske in Izegem wins hands down during our stay, especially when the air temperature is less than zero. Please note, however, that it's indoor attractions more than compensated for the otherwise basic facilities.

Only the Bottleje in Oostende met Paulette's requirement s of a clean ,warm, dry environment with hot water, paper towels or equivalent. Especially with a floor to ceiling radiator. Not much to ask for is it !

Cafe where most likely to be told off for talking too loud

The Kroegske was the only candidate in this category

The most overheated Café in Belgium

The Kroegske again.

Paulette and I moved from -2C to +30C within the space of 5 minutes on arrival. She found that most acceptable, but I found that I had to strip off my thermals in the garden to get my body temperature back to a level where I would not be talking too loud.

Cafe list for the week:

Kroegske Izegem

Stridjerhuis Brugge

Erasmus Brugge

De Garre Brugge

Erasmus Brugge

De Zolder Brugge

Brugse Beertje Brugge

Bargehuis Brugge

Trappistenhuis Gent

Bierkant Gent

Hopduvel Gent

De Torre De Haan

Bottleje Oostende

New beers of the week (to us)

Avec les Bons Voeux, on draught, this was a great start to the day in Gent (Beerkant)

Amboritx in Beerkant

Caves in De Torre

Unfiltered Slag Pils in Erasmus

Troubadour in Bargehuis

Vapeur en Folie in De Torre

Most convoluted conversation in Brugse Beertje

Discussion with local called Jerome about the state of his dog's health, identity cards in UK and Europe and the state of the NHS.

Bob Hendrixx stamps this week.

Reads something like the cafe list.

Bad coffee of the week

Normally, this category does not exist. Dickies bar, Brugge was the only entry: very poor, thin, tasteless.

Hosts and Hostesses of the week

Daisy at the Beertje

Danny and Nadine at the Kroegske

Session of the week

This was the hardest category to make a judgement..

For us, the most enjoyable and relaxing was the afternoon spent in De Torre in De Haan working our way through the list of oud bruins, with the help of some Belgian moussaka for nourishment.

We had our first visit to the Kroegske, where we had an enjoyable evening with Filip and Catrien. Unfortunately, this was too short owing to our late arrival from Brugge. Next time, we will be also make more adventurous choices from the list.

Three great sessions in the Beertje just added to the mix. I had almost forgotten how relaxed and friendly this place can be. Three years since our last visit there.

Pleasant surprise of the week

No bad service anywhere in Gent. As this was our first visit, we had no reference apart from comments in the Tim Webb guide and others' observations. From the tourist office via a small café for lunch, through the cafes visited, no problems.

Best food of the week

Vlaamse Pot Brugge

Hopduvel Gent

There were no disappointments during the week, just a growing appreciation of the food quality no matter whether it is from markets, cafes, and informal or formal meals. This time we seemed to eat less formal evening meals and more tapas style grazing during the day, which meant that we suffered no significant hangover all week. Beware the special omelette in the Stridjerhuis in Brugge though; tasty, filling but containing a week's supply of eggs.

Book shop of the week

Standaard Boekhandel, Steenstraat, Brugge

I bought an excellent street planner for West Flanders - Stratenatlas van Belgie (although pricey at 39 Euros). This was not only clear, on good quality paper but has pretty decent map annotations. There was also editions for other provinces.

Best and worst train journeys of the week

This one will cheer Joris. We had a very mixed bag of rail journeys.

We had 5 individual rail journeys, only two started and ended within the stated times.

The 40-minute Brugge-Gent journey took almost 1 hour 45 minutes, as there was electrical problems on the system around Gent station on Tuesday last week. The announcements were only in Dutch and we were blissfully unaware of what our options were as the train was stuck at Aalter station.

On our return, we caught the fast train back from Gent and reached Brugge within 20-25 minutes.

We will now start learning basic Dutch.

Buses from Brugge Markt to the station can not be relied upon if you are in a hurry (Timetable appears advisory only).

Homebound

On our return journey, we got back from Brugge to our house in London in 4.5 hours via Eurotunnel. That was some sort of record for us.

Next trip to Belgium planned - Podge's beer tour based in Kortrijk ( late May bank holiday weekend ).

Part Two - Brugge, Izegem, Gent, Oostende, De Haan - 16th to 20th February - Thom Aikman, 02/27/03 04:33:49 AM
        Re: Part Two - Brugge, Izegem, Gent, Oostende, De Haan - 16th to 20th Febr - Joris P., 02/27/03 05:46:14 AM
                Re: Part Two - Brugge, Izegem, Gent, Oostende, De Haan - 16th to 20th Febr - Thom Aikman, 02/27/03 07:25:55 AM
                Re: Part Two - Brugge, Izegem, Gent, Oostende, De Haan - 16th to 20th Febr - Icepick, 02/27/03 06:03:25 AM
                        Re: Part Two - Brugge, Izegem, Gent, Oostende, De Haan - 16th to 20th Febr - Thom Aikman, 02/27/03 07:22:04 AM
                        Re: Part Two - Brugge, Izegem, Gent, Oostende, De Haan - 16th to 20th Febr - Troll, 02/27/03 06:19:55 AM
                        I thought Thom was British, Mark? nfm - Joris P., 02/27/03 06:13:51 AM
                                Is he .... ?? - Mark, 02/27/03 06:56:15 AM
                                        Re: Is he .... ?? - Jeremy Gray, 02/27/03 08:28:41 AM
        Quiet Relaxing 't Kroegske - Filip Geerts, 02/27/03 05:27:19 AM
                Re: Quiet Relaxing 't Kroegske - Chuck Cook, 03/02/03 10:25:05 PM
                Re: Quiet Relaxing 't Kroegske - Mark A, 02/27/03 12:26:04 PM
                Re: Quiet Relaxing 't Kroegske - Thom Aikman, 02/27/03 07:29:30 AM
                        Re: Quiet Relaxing 't Kroegske - Icepick, 02/27/03 07:35:11 AM
                                Re: Quiet Relaxing 't Kroegske - Thom Aikman, 02/27/03 07:40:17 AM

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