Riding a bike on the cobble-stone streets of Brugge is a juddery experience.
We hired bikes today with trailers or ride-alongs for the boys. Riding through the streets of Brugge was a bit hairy at first, with a combination of cars, cobbled streets and nervous children making for a little stress. But when we reached the bicycle path on the outskirts of Brugge it all became plain sailing.
The bike path we had chosen runs alongside a canal towards the North Sea. We rode along with farm fields on one side and the canal on the other. There were walkers all around us – a lot of them it must be said – and the occasional peloton of more serious cyclists whizzed past us. Although our destination, the town of Damme, was only 7 or 8 kilometers away it felt further because it was another town. There’s something very cool about riding from one town to another, a sense of accomplishment that’s not available when you just stay within one place. Our aim for next week is to take that to the next level and ride from one country to another.
Damme is a lovely little town, but honestly its real claim to fame is that it is an easy ride or walk from Brugge. I can safely say that they highlight for us was the richly deserved waffle we had in a local cafe. We rode back to Brugge happily and were really pleased to see one of the locks in action letting a working barge step down to the lower-level canal. And after a morning of riding, navigating the town didn’t seem so difficult on the return journey.
The place we hired the bikes from doubles as a hairdresser – yup, strange but true. So we took advantage of this unusual bit of cross-marketing to get Declan’s hair cut. Very smart it is too. The hairdresser only spoke Flemish and French and I was really pleased when Declan, completely unprompted, thanked him in French.
For our dinner this evening we went for a walk out to view Brugge by night. If anything, it looks even better than by day with the bridges and all the main buildings beautiful lit up. Dinner was bratwurst sitting in the main square. Not exactly a healthy end to the day, but, hey, we rode bikes today so anything goes.