Still can’t believe it’s time to move on from Paris. The time seemed to go so fast. We had a wonderful time and can’t wait to return.
We’re taking the Thalys train to Belgium, so we’ll be leaving from Gare Nord. We checked out and grabbed a taxi from the taxi stand in front of the hotel. With no traffic at all, we arrived at the station in ten minutes. Had we known it would be that quick, we could have waited another forty-five minutes.
The usual assortment of undesirables could be found from the minute we arrived; most just asking for money, while there were others that looked like pickpockets. We had some time to kill, so we were just hanging out when we noticed a group of soldiers. Next thing you know, the station was being evacuated. Apparently, there was an unattended bag near the Aerostar lines that was deemed suspicious.
My guess is just a Brit who walked away for a smoke. Don’t know what they did, but about twenty minutes later they let everyone back in. We couldn’t help but wonder if the police blew the bloke’s clothes to bits.
So much for the excitement. Our train ended up leaving close to a half-hour late, which meant we missed our connection in Brussels. The good news is there is a train from Brussels to Bruges every hour.
The Brussels train station is pretty big and just a little confusing. We walked to where we thought we needed to go, but couldn’t find a sign for our train. We ended up asking at the info window and the gentleman pointed us right to our train. We were in the right place, just didn’t realize the train before ours hadn’t left yet.
The ride from Brussels to Bruges takes about an hour and there are two stops before you arrive in Bruge. The station in Bruges is medium sized – I think we counted eight tracks. It took us ten minutes from getting off the train to getting into a cab.
Our Taxi driver was very nice. A right proper ambassador for the city. We laughed together all the way to the hotel – especially noting all the Beer tasting signs. The fare was a flat €7.00 to the center of town.
Our hotel is called the Hotel de Orangerie and it is beautiful. It’s located right on the canal and is only a two minute walk to Markt Square.
Our room is gorgeous and overlooks the canal. It has a large, comfortable bed, two big windows that open, two big easy chairs, a desk, big bathroom and there is even a fireplace that works in the winter months. There are plenty of outlets and lights in the room too!
We relaxed in the room until dinner time. It is really cozy and feels like home.
Dinner tonight was at the Belgian Pigeon House. We were seated in an arched-ceiling basement dining room. Our server was a very nice older man, soft spoken and friendly. Besides our Kir Royals, we had a bottle of red wine from the Langnuedoc region. Sue started with an order of croquettes and I had white asparagus in a balsamic reduction. For our mains, we both had the house specialty – roast pigeon. To finish, we shared a warm apple tart with vanilla ice cream. Everything was delicious! In case you’re wondering, the pigeon tasted like dark meat chicken and the breast meat had a rich taste.
When we went up and paid, we talked to the owner for a bit. She invited Sue into the kitchen and showed her their josner oven, which was charcoal fired and perfect for cooking the birds. She then told us about the restoration they had done on the building and how they won an award for the authenticity. Next thing you know she was ushering us upstairs to see what they did. I was afraid she was trying to sell it to us; good thing I had the credit card.
After warm hugs, we headed out and back to the hotel. The night skies were perfect for a few pictures along the way.
Our first impressions of Bruges were “what a charming town”. Can’t wait to explore tomorrow.