After a night at sea being gently rocked to sleep by the waves, we awoke in the Port of Zeebrugge.We checked the ships weather channel for advice on our attire, decided on our outfits and then headed to breakfast. Fresh fruits followed by fresh pastries, all washed down with a pot of Assam, we were suitably fuelled and ready to disembark.
Now for the adventurous amongst you for the train costs about € 3 per person each way and the station is just outside the port, the journey takes about 20-30 minutes, a little shuttle bus runs back and forth between the ship and the port entrance, the trains run around once an hour. I’m afraid I don’t like to wait so we got a taxi, it was around a 30 minute ride and cost €40, we were dropped off right in the main square, perfect to begin our explorations.
Famous for its canals Bruges is often referred too as the Venice of the north. It’s the capital of the province of West Flanders in Flemish Belgium. Its beautiful architecture and great history have ensured its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Squares, and courtyards, blend with quaint roads and fairytale bridges, its like stepping into a story book.
The busy crowds added to the vibrant feel of the place, historic but cosmopolitan.
After a while spent admiring locally crafted Flemish lace and sinfully indulgent Belgium chocolate, we decided to the best way to appreciate our surroundings was from the canals themselves. We boarded a boat tour and spent a leisurely half hour or so chugging around, listening to our very knowledgeable guide.
The slower pace was very relaxing, when we left the little boat we thought the best thing to maintain the mood, was to sit in a little canal side café and partake of a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
All too soon it was time to return to the Oriana, dress for dinner and set sail once more.