And I don’t mean the film. Despite how good it is, I must say that the city is so much better!
With the help of a Go-Pass, a brilliant purchase, where one can make 10 journeys, anywhere in Belgium, for 50 euros (it sounds rather a lot, but considering a return to Brussels can easily cost 20 euros, it’s a great saving in the end), a couple of friends and I made a day trip to Bruges.
We decided to go on a Monday, to avoid the tourists and the crowds, which was a great idea in principle, but it turns out a lot of the attractions are closed Mondays, so definitely aim for later on in the week, or even brave a weekend!
It is a truly wonderful city, with a gingerbread and postcard feel to it that was made even more picturesque by all the Christmas decorations illuminating the streets. I definitely chose the right time to go!
However, the strange thing is, there isn’t much really to do. Of course there are churches, museums etc that you must visit (the Lonely Planet guide, or even the local tourist information is great for this), but admittedly, there isn’t much else. Going to Bruges is just a day off, where one can wander through the cobbled streets, eating local chocolates (or a Subway, if you prefer) and taking lots and lots and lots of pictures. It is seriously breathtaking stuff. But it doesn’t take more than several hours.
I would heartily suggest Bruges at this time of year, when it’s cold and wintery, and you can wrap up warm drinking Gluhwein and visiting the Christmas markets, while avoiding that pile of work that is getting increasingly burdensome in recent weeks! The good thing about Liège is its fantastic proximity to nearly everything. Brussels, Bruges, Cologne, Maastricht, Aachen, Antwerp; they’re all less than two hours away from Liège. Amsterdam? Three hours. All great for one or two day visits with Erasmus students ready to investigate Europe to its utmost limits! And one can’t forget Ryanair, who offer amazing deals like returns to Geneva, Italy and other great places from Brussels for under 40 euros. Trust me, I’m not Ryanair’s biggest fan, but for those prices, you can’t not be tempted!!!
All in all, get into the festive spirit, because from my experience, Continental Europe is one of the best places to celebrate the run up to Christmas, and you’ve got to enjoy it while you can!