TRAVEL GUIDE: A HALF-DAY CYCLING TRIP FROM BRUGGE
So we’d picked up our dream bikes from Rad Powerbikes in Utrecht, Netherlands, and had been busting to take them for a proper spin. So far, the most we’d done is cycle into the historic centre of Brugge from our campsite because unfortunately, the weather was not co-operating with us enough to much more. Finally, one overcast Tuesday the weatherman said the rain would hold until late afternoon, and so we rugged up against that beautiful Belgian chill and hopped on Yolanda and Jacob…
Brugge is an exquisite old merchant town with plenty to offer within the city walls, but most tourists don’t get the opportunity to venture into the surrounding countryside, which is just as beautiful. We decided to start from the 15th Century Kruispoort gate and head towards Damme (for the exact details of the route we took watch our video below as well as the detailed route on the Google Map). This route took us past quaint cottages and green streets before venturing into larger plots of farmland.
Here, it's clear that life moves at a slower pace. Couples walk their dogs along the quiet roads, a small group of locals sing as they repair timber fencing, even the cows seem content and relaxed. Along the Damme Canal you will find poplars that are over 100 years old, sprinkled with red squirrels and native birds.
Once you arrive in Damme you’ll fall in love with it’s quiet soul. Storks perch on the peaked roof of the Town Hall (Zwin Nature Park has successfully re-introduced this special bird which was once extinct in the region) and the sleepy Schellemill waves to the sky.
At this time of year (late February), lambs bleat beside their mothers against a backdrop of moody churches and skeletal trees, pruned in preparation for the coming spring.
In 1997 Damme officially became a ‘Book Town’ with specialty bookshops and a book market every second Sunday of the month. If you’re here in winter though, the bookshops only open every second weekend. The quiet streets are perfect for cruising about on your bike, which you can then lock up beside Town Hall.
Just off the Markt square you’ll find the perfect cosy pub in which to read (and we can’t even remember the name!) with an open fireplace and delicious food. Here you can recharge before heading off again along the magical Damse Vaart, keeping an eye out for donkeys and cows and lambs on your way back to Brugge. The route is flat, quiet, and beautiful, making it perfect for cyclists.
As you ride back into Brugge and begin to smell the chocolate and the waffles and the beer you’ll start to wake up again, as if from a dream. Pull into Burg Square and follow your nose down the cobbled alley to the Markt, picking up a hot waffle on the way to warm you right through as you look up and absorb the belfry, which perches above the Markt like a crown, and the crenulated roofline of this beautiful city.
And as a side note, Jamal WAS on the cycling trip, he was just busy BEHIND the camera creating footage for the video below. Enjoy!