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The Timeless Allure Of Bruges

Updated: Apr 21

Zeebrugge & Bruges, Belgium

After basking in the charm of La Havre in Northern France as part of our enriching two-week Western Europe Transatlantic voyage aboard the esteemed Celebrity Apex, we were beckoned by the allure of Zeebrugge and Bruges in Belgium.

Ah, Bruges – a city that never fails to weave its magic, making each day a truly enchanting experience.

Our journey commenced with a brisk walk from the ship in search of an Uber or taxi. However, the popularity of this option among passengers made it clear that pre-booking a driver is the savvy move when you're docked in Zeebrugge, a good 15 kilometres away from the heart of Bruges. After a half-hour stroll revealed the weekend rail closures, our luck with Uber eventually turned, leading us to the delightful Mohammed from Ethiopia, our eventual hero, who ensured our timely return to the ship.

Entering the bustling centre square of Bruges, memories flooded back from our 2008 weekend escapades in this charming city. Our gaze caught the horse-drawn carriages, evoking recollections of Cate Blanchett enjoying a similar ride with her children in 2008. With merely 2.5 hours to spare in Bruges, our quest was to craft a memorable day while skirting the tourist masses. Joining the queue, twenty minutes later found ourselves atop a horse carriage, guided by the elegant Ceynode through the bustling streets of the city centre.

The horse-drawn carriage experience was indeed magical, a treat for any horse enthusiast like myself. As Ceynode gracefully led us, we absorbed tidbits of city information amidst the resonating echoes of hooves against cobblestones, creating a symphony of historical charm.

After a brief rest for Ceynode in a serene corner surrounded by canals and swans, we resumed our clip-clopping journey through narrow streets, ushering tourists aside as we traversed the city's historic paths.

Returning to the main square after an enriching 60 Euros experience, we bid adieu to our skilled carriage driver, ready for the next highlight of our adventure. Discovering secluded terraces along the canal, we found solace at Hotel De Orangerie for a tranquil champagne respite, enhanced further by fresh strawberries and exquisite Belgian chocolates, away from the tourist crowds.

No Belgian visit is complete without indulging in their famed chocolates. A quick detour to a nearby chocolate shop resulted in a sizeable but worthwhile purchase of these delectable treats.

As our time in Bruges drew to a close, the challenge of finding a taxi or Uber for the return journey ensued. Amidst the transport hustle back to the ship, a stroke of luck led us to encounter Mohammed once more, our guardian angel, ensuring a safe return to our vessel. His timely appearance amid our search was truly miraculous, making us deeply grateful for his assistance.

Bruges, a true treasure trove, has us already plotting our return for a more extended stay. Considering insights from the hospitable hotel staff, autumn and winter midweek getaways may offer the perfect opportunity to relish the city's beauty with fewer visitors, cozy fires, and vibrant seasonal hues.

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