Woke at 7am. It is sunny and the morning is a bit nippy.
My DH and I need to catch the 8:58am train this morning, thus our breakfast was not as leisurely as we would like. We actually snuck down to the breakfast room 10 minutes early, planted ourselves at a table, and powered on our electronic devices. The young woman manning the breakfast area was OK with it, she brought us coffee and hot chocolate as we waited for the buffet to be set up.
Our stay in Cochem was nice. We could not have asked for better weather and we are hoping our weather-luck holds out for the remaining eleven days of our trip. According to the internet, weather in Bruges, Belgium is supposed to be in the high 80’s.
We finish our breakfast, check-out of the hotel and walk to the train station. Today we are using our last day on our EuroRail pass. We do not have formal reservations and it has been our experience that this is never a good thing. However, we do have first class tickets so maybe it will not be so bad.
In Cochem, our 8:58am train is on time and not too busy for a Sunday. An hour or so later, we arrive on time for our first connection in Koblenz. This train leaves on time and we were able to find seats without too much of a problem too.
An hour or so later, our next connection in Brussels is a mad house! We have not seen crowds like this since France! People are pushing and shoving on the platform trying to secure the best boarding advantage. We are not sure where to stand so we stand wherever the crowd lets us stand. The train pulls up and the wave of people moves in! We squeeze into the closest available open door.
Once we are on the train, we notice that the majority of the seats are reserved, as indicated by the electronic sign above each seat. My DH and I sit anywhere where we think the seats are not reserved. In about 5 minutes, I need to move – I am in a reserved seat. As the train pulls out of the station, I am looking for a new seat. I leave my suitcase with my DH and I scope out the other cabins. I work my way to the first class (where we would be sitting if we had been standing on the right platform in the first place) and this cabin is virtually empty! I find two first class seats that do not appear to be reserved, I put down my backpack on one and my coat on the other. I stagger back to my husband as quickly as possible as the train rocks from side to side. In a few minutes, we are both relaxing in the roomy comfort of our first class seats with one of those great little tables between us (complete with electrical outlets) — sweeeet! For the next hour, I organize photographs and my DH watches the German/Belgium countryside go by.
We arrive in Bruges around 3pm. We get a taxi at the train station and arrive at the B&B Bariseele at 3:30pm. We are greeted by Denny who gives us the lowdown on the weather and things to do in Bruges for the next four days. Our room (or should I say, our apartment) is nice and big! We settle in and go off to take a nice walk in Bruges.
The weather is hotter here than in Cochem, but still nice! The city is also crowded! We are hoping that many of these visitors are simple day-trippers, here to spend a lovely Sunday in lovely Bruges and then leave! That sounds selfish, I know, but I am getting tired of crowds. We were able to catch a canal boat ride — the best way to see the city:
After the boat ride, we decide to have dinner on the main Market Square. Based on Denny’s recommendation, we eat at Sint Joris at a nice outdoor table on the square directly opposite from the bell tower. Here are some pictures:
We lingered at our table for another hour just enjoying the cool weather and lively atmosphere. Later, we take a walk around town to locate some chocolate shops listed in Rick Steves’ guidebook. We eventually get lost but that is OK, this city looks good even in the dark. We arrive back at our hotel around 9:30pm. We checked emails (the internet had a strong and dependable connection) and went to sleep.
Quote of the day: “I can’t pronounce any of the names of these restaurants so I will just have to spell it out for you, OK?” – Anna to DH during our evening walk.