It has been one very long day today!! Mum and I have only just got back from Bruges, yes you read that right! We were in Belgium today! One of Mum's colleagues organises a regular Christmas shopping trip every year and last year they went to Bruges, and clearly they went to Bruges again this year!
Unfortunately the weather was somewhat against us as it was very wet, we all got rather soaked, but nevertheless we had a great time. The day started with us having to get up before 6am in order to make sure that we were in time for the coach, which left at 6:45pm and everybody was advised that coach would NOT wait.
The journey there and back went very well indeed, we made our trains and were not held up anywhere by traffic, so that was all very smooth, we stopped at a supermarket in France and bought far too much wine!
Bruges isn't all that far away, much to my surprise! We arrived just after 12 noon and then had the whole of the afternoon (until the coach picked us up at 4:30pm) to explore the town. Like I said, it was a rather wet and horrible day, so we weren't really able to see as much as we would have liked, but Bruges is most definitely worth a second, longer visit.
The first thing that we did once we got off the coach was to go and see the Ice Sculptures - this is apparently an annual display of ice carving. And - wow - it was just amazing (will post some photos when I download them!) - there were hedgehogs, toadstools, the most enormous carvings of wizards and other fantastic beings. There were even two slides!! One within the shell of a snail (for children) and one much larger one for anyone who dared and I did! It was actually a slide-tunnel, so as you were sliding down you were totally surrounded by ice - it was just incredible.
It was very very cold though, so Mum and I didn't stay that long. We headed for the town centre and found some lunch in what we'd call a simple cafe and would perhaps be rather looked down on if it was in the UK, but there is a very different cafe style on the continent and this little cafe was clearly very popular with the locals and Mum and I had a Belgian beer and a simple meal.
Thus fortified we then set off to explore the town as much as we could in the little time we had and the horrible rain. Needless to say, we didn't see that much, but I am definitely going back again - for a long weekend next year perhaps.
However, we did make sure that we bought plenty of chocolate!! I also bought some Christmas decorations and a lovely candle holder, so I am very satisfied with the trip! We were extremely tired when we got home though!!
So....I am now off to bed!!