Being of a restless nature and nearing Christmas I decided to go to Bruges for the weekend. I left a cold rainy England and headed into an even colder rainy Northern France. Actually, it was not just rainy it was a torrential downpour in Calais to the point of zero visibility.
I drove on the E40 – the main highway that takes you from Calais to Bruges – and at a ridiculously slow speed for about eight miles in torrential rain and found a Texaco petrol station and decided to wait out the storm over copious amounts of coffee and croissants.
Once cleared I headed to Bruges and the Pand Hotel, arriving in the afternoon – word to the wise – don’t drive in Bruges on Saturday’s during the street market!
I was shown to my room – named the Ralph Lauren room due to the style of furnishings – and settled in. The room is small, cosy and decorated with a personal touch that can be attributed to the women who owns it. In some ways, it has a very similar feel to the Langtry Manor Hotel (Or rather how it used to be) in Bournemouth with that romantic and traditional feel. This feeling was emphasised as it was the Christmas period.
I met with my friends for dinner at a nondescript restaurant in Bruges, which I really don’t remember much about except for the steak was really tough. After a couple of drinks, we went window shopping around Bruges. There is one thing about mainland Europe at Christmas time, it seems like every shop-front tried to outdo their neighbour with the decoration and glitz, the windows were so colourful and we just stared in awe. The streets were lit up with Christmas decorations and the crowds all seemed to be generally in a happy mood.
After over 12 hours of driving and another 5 hours walking around Bruges, I was more than ready for bed. My friends wanted to stay up and carry on window shopping and see the sights. I went to bed and slept soundly.
Breakfast at the Pand Hotel was very typically European with the eggs cooked on an old fashioned stove with bacon. The usual cheeses, brie, cream cheeses and Laughing Cow were on display with some freshly baked croissants and coffee that was made to wake a hibernating bear.
I spent the rest of the day looking at the sights and Christmas shopping. I would thoroughly recommend the Pand Hotel for a weekend if you plan to get away for a few days.
The Pand Hotel