Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Mini cruise to Bruges

So this weekend me and my good friend Keeley headed of on a mini cruise to Bruge. Having never been on a mini cruise before I really didn't know what to expect or even the slightest idea where to begin packing. I was really unaware of what the ferry would be like on board or what to expect but I did expect it was going to be a tiring day travelling. I also will warn you know this is a long post so go put the kettle on...milk no sugar please. 

We began the journey on the train from Leeds to Hull and then boarded the ferry. We arrived a good few hours early to board the ship. Clearly because I'm so punctual, not because I had booked everything in the wrong name and I needed to correct this! The taxi from the train station cost £7 (I'll try update you all with prices etc in case anyone is thinking of booking and wants an idea) although there is a shuttle bus running once a day I believe.

The ferry soon departed and I waved goodbye to England...and possibility took a few iconic Titanic style poses on the deck of the ship (I won't share these). I then went back inside to have a brief panic we was now actually at sea there was no getting of and took a few sea sickness tablets. I have no idea why as I don't suffer with sea sickness at all but after the announcement regarding the location of life-jackets and that I should dress warm in the unlikely event of an emergency I felt I should try put myself at ease. Although I later found Grolsch and Baileys does a far better job. 

This also brings me on to my outfit. Of course since the ship sails at 5:30 and sails over night its best to dress warm and comfortable. As much as I would love to of been sailing on 5* cruise liner, this was cheep and cheerful P&O ferries, imagine Butlins at sea! I had chosen a simple jersey long sleeve top, a pair of black leggings, my trusty leather jacket and my new favourite tartan scarf. I pondered my choice of footwear long and hard after some people at work convinced me if the sea gets rough the toilets split out and drench the toilets floor and I didn't want any soggy socks...obviously this does not happen!

The cabins on-board are shall we say compact. We was both a little shocked at this but other than sleeping you really don't spend any time here at all. I bagged the top bunk first as quite obviously sleeping on the bottom bunk comes with the fear of having the top bunk collapsing onto me. Although falling of the top bunk is a  much more realistic fear I took my chances! 

After we dropped of the bags in the room we toured the ferry which had 2 large bars both with some entertainment (one man playing a piano, another woman killing classic karaoke songs) a casino (1 roulette table) a small cinema, 2 restaurants, duty free shops and a cafe. The bar was reasonably priced with 4 bottles of Grolsch or house wine for £12. (gaining extra value for money with the entrainment of opening the swing tops on the bottles). After a late night at the cheesy entrainment, too many beers and living life on the edge on my top bunk, we arrived in Bruges. 

My only idea on what Bruges was going to be like was all taken from the film In Bruges. So quite clearly I expected this place to be like a fairytale. I really wasn't disappointed.  

We headed to the main market square for breakfast. Sitting out under a canopy on the main square amongst the cobbled streets and exquisite buildings I really did have to pinch myself slightly at where I was. We sat and ate our delicious breakfasts as the chiming bells from the Belfry tower rang above the skyline, echoed by the sound of the clicking of the horses hoofs amongst the pavements.  

After a much needed breakfast we headed of to explore the magnificent city. We first came across the canal trips. The canal trips are a must for a quick way to see the city. Although I mainly focused on the worlds fittest tour guide, the short half hour trips offer a nice insight to the city with lots to see. Legend has it in 1488 when emperor Maximilian was imprisoned in the city and his councillor was beheaded, the councillors coat of arms featured a swan. When the emperor was released he ordered that swans be kept on the canals of Bruges for all eternity. 

We then followed the lingering smell of chocolate as we walked through the streets to the cutest chocolate shop. There's so much to take in with the most adorable boutique shops and restaurants around every corner. The chocolate shops are a must and although I'm not a chocolate lover if you don't enjoy the mouth watering chocolates here you never will. We also visited the chocolate museum what I wouldn't recommend.

The finally of the day was to climb the 366 stairs to the top of the Belfry tower. Trust me in the film there is no way they are running up and down those stairs. This is a rather hellish walk with narrow twisting stair cases what almost turns into a one foot ladder near the top. However the view from the top is worthwhile with stunning views across the city.

After all that hard work there was just enough time left to treat myself to one of the foods Bruges is most famous for...fries! 

Have you been to Bruges?


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