I'm reserving my judgement on Brugge 'officially' until we leave. I can say here however I have not been wowed by the fairytale....and I feel slightly cheated, a little uncouth... and yes, guilty. I am unappreciative of the immense history under my nose.
Don't get me wrong I have been here before, albeit 20 years ago, and I loved Brugge. Maybe there were fewer tourists back then? It was definitely pre 'In Brugges' and it was winter. Freezing, desolate and very charming.
Damme was...ok, I am dying to say it, damn good. It felt like the south of France. The service and attention to detail were something that is sadly lacking in Brugge (in my humble opinion). The bike ride out there, only half an hour, was a tonic. The track runs along a lush green canal lined with poplar trees. It's completely flat! My kind of riding and the sun shone. We stopped in for coffee and chocolate icrecream at Tante Marie, which I highly recommend and we also took a little look around the museum at St John's Hospital, which incidentally is on the market (see staircase above), set for redevelopment! The people of Damme are hoping to encourage a younger community to settle there. From Damme we toured on to Oostkerke and then back to Brugge via Koolkerke. The bike tracks are really well sign posted and it made me think touring Belgium by bike would be a fine idea (Don't laugh Dad)!