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My sweet weekend in Bruges

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This charming little medieval town in the north of Belgium has taste…and not only for exquisite architecture. The cocoa-rich, mouth watering, fine chocolate delicacies in Bruges are the best I’ve ever tasted in my life!

I don’t know how others experienced this city, but I personally rather tasted it.

The famous Jeff de Bruges international chocolate franchise has the city embedded in its brand name, as the first chocolate factory was installed here. Other famous chocolatiers such as Stephan Dumon (Dumon Chocolatier), Paule Depreter (Chocolaterie Sukerbuyc), Dominique (The Chocolate Line), Françoise Thomaes (The old chocolate house) and many more have open factories in Bruges. In fact, this city is a genuine chocolate laboratory, since over 50 expert chocolatiers have confectioneries here.

 

There’s history between Bruges and chocolate: it all started in late Middle Ages. The Spanish have already colonized The New World and were marvelled to discover the Aztec drink from the gods: hot chocolate in its first, initial form. The affluent families in Bruges, who were already receiving trade sugar cane from Madeira, were among the first ones to discover the wonders of cocoa and how it can be used to make chocolate and numerous sweet treats.

The best way to experience the universal history of chocolate with its particularities is to visit The Choco Story museum in Bruges, a great story teller with a hint of sweetness! Among pictures, chocolate making tools, documentaries, demonstration and even statues made of chocolate (please don’t try to eat pieces of it like I did, it’s only for display, doesn’t taste good), a very educative experience unfolds. The gift shop with all the sweet treats is not to be missed!

Leaving chocolate tastiness aside, the charm of Bruges also lies in its Historic Center, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000. Its magnificent Gothic architecture attracts thousands of tourists each year and one of the most notable sites here is The Belfry of Bruges, an amazing medieval bell tower that reproduces popular music on church bell rhythms. I could hear the bell music distinctively from my room at Hotel Navarra, a charming 4 star hotel located in the historical center, a delightful accommodation experience.

I couldn’t miss Groeningemuseum, where I had the chance to admire the Flemish Primitives along with several religious and law themed paintings. Later, I couldn’t help strolling on the Bonifacius Bridge, a medieval fairy tale link between the Church of Our Lady and Arentshof Courtyard.

As a passionate jogger, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to experience the city early morning – the views along the canal are stunning!

As my weekend ended I was almost certain I haven’t seen enough of Bruges. The chocolatiers caught most of my attention and time – justifiably so, but I wanted to spend more time getting to know the city, details of its history, cultural insights and artistic edges.

My verdict: one weekend is not enough…

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