Bruges, Belgium (train from Lille)
Sudden decision to head to Bruges for the day since the weather is OK. The staff at Lille Flanders station are friendly and helpful, unlike the obstructionist staff we sometimes encounter at wheelie help spots. 40 minutes later we are on the train to Bruges. This involves a change at Kortrijk which goes reasonably smoothly. I move across to platform on the portable ramp to the Bruges train. The spot for wheelies is quite comfy with good views of the flat terrain.
The Bruges train station is about one km from the centre but the walk is lovely. We walk along a windey cobbled street to the centre square with its famous belfry, stopping in at a few landmarks along the way. The old town is almost completely cobbled, including both roads and footpaths. I was thoroughly shaken up in my power chair after six hours. Softer, inflatable tyres would be good here but I survived of course and I had a lot of fun.
The town is inundated with tourists and it has a tourist town feel and aesthetic. There are many trashy trinket shops, bad restaurants and poor chocolate shops but there are also excellent ones so discernment is required as always. Jill climbed the belfry, featured in the excellent British crime comedy film “In Bruges”. She said it was very steep and perilous but interesting, with wonderful views. We walked north from here past the Chocolate museum to a canal, and then followed it around almost back to the station.
There are lots of horse and buggys roaming about as well as many packed canal boats. Both seem fun ways to see the town if you like that kind of thing. None are wheelie accessible of course.
There are quite a few fake history establishments, called something like “the Bruges experience”. Not my thing.
All in all we were glad we dropped in to Bruges, the architecture is lovely and if you wander just a little from the main attractions you will find some delightful surprises.