When you think about a weekend away in Belgium, Bruges might not pop up immediately. You’ll probably think of Antwerp, Brussels or if you active, the Ardennes. As we planned this weekend getaway in August, guessing the weather could be warm and sunny, we decided on a destination close to the ocean. We wanted history, good restaurants and the possibility of going out of town to splash in the sea; Bruges!
Not knowing this city at all, research didn’t help me much further. I found a nice apartment in the city centre and decided to take it from there and so we took the car for a road trip from Amsterdam to Bruges.
Maison Zenasni was our home away from home for the weekend. Located in the city centre of Bruges, it is a bit of a hack getting there (Bruges has an surprising amount of one-way streets!) and parking outside Maison Zenasni is only limited to 2 hours. We offloaded and drove to the big parking at the train-station where parking is only 3,50 euro a day!
The B&B is owned by Djamil Zenasni and breathes history and style. You enter the building with a code, and look for your name on a big sign in the hallway. After we made our way up, and opened the door we stepped into a beautiful old attic suite, with everything you could wish for. Although, since we arrived in the middle of a heatwave, an airconditioning would have been nice! It was a bit hot in the top.. Luckily there was a fan available after the first sleepless night in a 30 degree heat and lots of street noise which made the second night much more comfortable.
The breakfasts at Maison Zenasni are without any fuss. All guests sit at the same table and there is bread, yoghurt, muesli. Nothing special – but sufficient. We did get into some fun conversations with other guests from the UK, Australia and Belgium. Although the last one was so much dialect we couldn’t understand a word.
Djamil showed us around his house, which is connecting with the B&B. He has an amazing taste and uses beautiful natural materials combined with fierce colours in fabrics on chairs and plaids on floors. We were a bit jealous when we left his home and went straight to his shop – he repairs and covers old chairs and sofa’s.
Bruges itself is a city you can wander around forever. The little streets, bridges and old historical buildings make you fall in love with this city. Yes, there are tourists but not an annoying amount of them. And if you chose your route wisely – you really enjoy this town!
On our first night we enjoyed an amazing dinner at Duc de Bourgogne, located on a fun little square with more restaurants and terraces and overviewing the water. There are not tables outside, but we had a table at the window with a magnificent view over the canal. The atmosphere is a bit stiff, but the service and foor superb.
However, if you want to sit outside and have a bit more ‘bistro’ style food, I can really recommend ‘Bourgogne des Flandres‘. Arriving here on a Saturday evening without a reservation and with the demand to sit outside, was challenging. But not for our great waiter -Vincent – who solved the puzzle, got us a table and served us with a great smile! Definitely a must go to, for lunch or dinner. Or just a drink – the restaurant is part of a brewery so some local beers have to be experienced.
The next morning, the hunt was on for good coffee. And it was found! Caffe da Noi makes a perfect flat white, cappuccino or any other coffee. The owner is a charm, testing the coffee until it is at it’s perfection. As the day was getting hotter and hotter we left to the beach and the friendly owner of Caffe da Noi recommended to go to Wenduinen beach instead of going to the more busy beach-towns. A golden advice. We made ourselves comfortable on a luxurious daybed with umbrella and a windscreen, a little bar at a stone’s throw away and did not leave until 5pm.
Very sure we missed a lot of the Bruges highlights, the museums, breweries, history on all the buildings you see… but we will be back, this time with a reservation at Bourgogne des Flandres and perhaps a boat-ride will be part of the activities…..