Bruges - Getting there and St. Christopher's Bauhaus
Bruges is a favorite city of mine. It is a photographer’s paradise and a wanderer’s paradise in just about any kind of weather. I fell in love with Belgium in general, and Bruges in particular in the early 1960's. Even with the millions of demanding and spoiled tourists, the citizens of this city have so much patience with all of us, tourists and travelers alike, it defies logic. At least it defies my logic. People that I meet in hostels talk about Bruges almost as much as they do about Amsterdam, which is always a huge favorite. The comments I hear most often are how beautiful Bruges is, and how friendly the people are. Both are true. Also true is the really good behavior of tourists in this tourist-filled city. I don’t know why.
Bruges has a population of about 120,000 with about 25,000 living in the city center. Many hundreds more commute daily to the city center for their employment. To that, add three million tourists each year, hence the Bruges motto. The motto for Belgium is, "Unity Makes Strength." The Bruges motto is, "Don’t Drive In the City," or it should be.
I have visited Bruges three different times and always wish that I had planned better and allotted more time to this lovely city. Just wandering in the small side streets would take me at least a full day, if not two. I was in the city for two days and one night. I should have scheduled four days and three nights and I am planning that trip for next year. Also, Bruges was my tenth location in three weeks and I was pretty tired by the time. Definitely too many moves.
I stayed at St. Christopher’s Bauhaus which is located within a couple of blocks of a bus stop (the driver will told me when to get off and pointed me in the right direction). The right direction turned out to be through one of the city gates - Kruispoort. Before going through the gate, I noticed a lovely windmill 100 meters to my right and I returned early the next morning for pictures on both sides of the gate and the windmill. Anyway, I walked for a couple of blocks down Langstraat to the hostel which is well-managed and check-in was easy. There is a bar and restaurant that is part of the hostel and does a good business. I did not eat in the restaurant but others told me that it was quite good and far more reasonable than the downtown eateries. The included breakfast is served in the restaurant. Any Belgian beer is good.
I had a couple of very minor complaints about St. Christopher’s. One was that the staircase up to the third floor is narrow and it was difficult for me to manage with a suitcase. The dorms are quite small, but I spent very little time in the room. I was in a dorm that consisted of two rooms with three bunks in each room. Both the toilet and shower were close-by.
I do recommend St. Christopher’s Bauhaus. Its location is very good being close to a bus stop. I passed quite a few hostels walking into to city (10 minutes) and they would take longer to reach. My roller-bag and I were arguing constantly by that time. I think that I will return to St. Christopher’s in the future.