Sampling the four pillars of Bruge

By Rose Vollum, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

After a tough week of in-person exams, two friends and I decided we deserved a holiday. So, the following Monday, we met up at Kiriteron (our local café) to get planning. After a couple of hot chocolates and much deliberating we settled on Bruge, a small city in Belgium, known for its medieval architecture and delicious food.

At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, the three of us met up at the coach station ready for our adventure; I had come prepared with my eye mask and Alex his signature three-boiled eggs. After an eventful journey, involving a dropped toothbrush and a sprint through Antwerp for our connecting coach, we made it to Bruge. Where a free shuttle from the station took us into the town centre, once we had deposited our bags off at the hostel, it was time to start exploring and sampling the four pillars of Bruge. I don’t think the four pillars is an official phrase, but from our research chips, beer, chocolate, and waffles are the delicacies that are most iconic to the city.

The streets of Bruge surpassed our expectations, the medieval gothic architecture and cobbled streets are truly stunning. We were unsurprised to learn that it is a UNESCO World Heritage City because it has retained so much of its historic fabric over the centuries. Following a 3-hour walk soaking up the sights, it was time to sample our first two pillars: chips and beer. The chips did not disappoint, and the beer was particularly nice, our favourite was the Kriek lambic which is a traditional beer made with sour cherries. After several pints and some more snacks, we rounded the day off with some karaoke back at the hostel.

On Thursday we woke up bright and early for check out and then headed to McDonalds. This prepared us well for a 2-hour walking tour, where we learnt a lot about the history of Bruge and got to sample some yummy Belgium chocolate. Our guide, Anthony was hilarious, and we only had to pay a small optional tip at the end making it very budget-friendly.

Shattered after the tour we thought it was time to sample the fourth and final pillar: waffles. While they looked amazing, it was definitely our least favourite pillar, they were 10 euros and a bit too chocolaty. Nevertheless, they put a pep in our step, and we did a bit more shopping and wondering before heading to the brewery De Halve Maan for a final pint. The place was recommended on our tour as it’s Bruge’s oldest brewery and has a revolutionary underground pipeline that sends beer from the brewery to a potting plant 2 miles away.

Sadly, the brewery marked our final stop of the tour and at 7 pm it was time to head back to the coach station. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip and thought that one night was more than enough time to see all the sights.

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