First things first, we probably picked the worst days for our roadtrip when it comes to weather conditions, because, well, rain. Lots and lots of rain. It wasn't until we survived the leg to our first destination and sat down for hot drinks (tea for me) that we heard it was the worst summer storm since 1901. Oops! The photos I took whilst we were on the highway definitely do not do justice to the continuous rain and wind - that you could literally see because it was made of rain - but you get the idea.
With still a few hours to kill before we were able to check in our hotel, we ventured into the city centre of Bruges. First thing we noticed was how cute everything was with the canals and so on and that Bruges had a lot of tea rooms which we really liked. There also was a "Frietmuseum," yes a museum about fries and of course an overly amount of shops for chocolate. I'm not a big fan of chocolate *shock horror* but I still wanted a box of chocolates from Belgium as my souvenir and for those rare occasions when I do crave it.
And of course, there was beer. Next to chocolate it was THE thing that could also be found everywhere and it was cool to see all the different flavours and brands that were out there.
If it wasn't so rainy I probably would have taken a trip on the canals, but alas. As we walked more on the borders of the city centre we stumbled across Dutch wind mills which was fun to see. I guess we just aren't able to get away from Dutch heritage.
Around this time we were hitting the hour to be able to check in so we headed back to the car to get our stuff and passed a few of the godshuizen, almshouses, which are precursors of public housing dating back to the 14th century.
The hotel we stayed at was the Hans Memling Hotel, very closely situated near the market square. Top feature? It had a bath I could lie in and so a relaxing warm bath was had at the end of day before I headed to bed, which was late in the evening because guess what?! The weather cleared up and a nice warm sun lit up the city. After our check-in we visited the Begijnhof, Beguinage. This tranquil place, inhabited by the sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict according to Bruges' tourist website, was beautiful to see. Something that did bother me was the fact that quite a few people were very loud when there are distinct signs asking you to be quiet. Of course you can 'ooh' and 'aah' at the sight, but people please respect this place and people inhabiting it when you visit.
Our first day ended with dinner at an Italian, visiting the lake near the Beguinage again to enjoy the last rays of sun and drinks at one of the cafes near our hotel before it was time for a well-deserved sleep.