“I’ll just pick up a few chocolates as gifts for my friends,” I thought, in advance of our day-with-no-plans in Bruges. As we wandered the quaint, canal-lined streets of Bruges, we meandered into shop after shop after shop, all filled with beautiful, delicious looking, chocolate masterpieces.
Since fruit is an acceptable breakfast food, I purchased several pieces of chocolate covered orange slices at Dumon, one of the cities best-known chocolate shops, and for good reason. The chocolate is gorgeous, tasty, and the family-run shop staff is friendly, helpful, and decidedly un-judgy when I purchased just a few pieces for my morning meal, and a small box as a gift.
Pro tip: they also have a bathroom in the basement.
Over the course of the morning, we perused many more chocolate shops, buying gifts (for myself and others), and marveling at the abundance.
Another item on the “must-do” list in Bruges is a boat tour along the canals. A calm, half-hour ride showcases the city without throngs of tourists, from an entirely different view.
Pro tip: Go early – the lines only get longer as the day goes on.
The historical city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, only covers about a square mile-and-a-half. The church spire, in the main square, can be seen easily from afar, as its spire reaches over 400 feet tall. It is easily walkable, with many lovely distractions along the way. in addition to the abundance of chocolate shops, we managed to find many charming boutiques lining the cobblestone streets.
But a whole morning of canal tours, chocolate eating, and shopping makes me hungry. We headed to Kok Au Vin for lunch. Across the main square, and down a side street, the lovely, intimate restaurant caters to locals. Thank to the interwebs, tourists like me were able to find it, too.
Starting this vacation in London, we worked our way through Scotland and Ireland, too. We ate more than our fair share of fish and chips throughout the journey. It is fair to say that the fried redfish appetizer at Kok Au Vin topped them all. Crispy, non-greasy, and flavorful, I was full by the time our main courses arrived.
The rest of the meal was just as delightful. FKGuy enjoyed the namesake dish of coq au vin (outstanding), while I enjoyed a pan roasted fresh fish, topped with spring vegetables. We left there happy, full, and ready for the inevitable forthcoming nap.
If you are visiting Bruges, Kok Au Vin is certainly worth a visit. I know I will go back next time we are there.