We are back in Bruges this year for part two of our Yuletide weekend road trips. This weekend marks the opening of the bigger and better known Christmas markets, and the one in Bruges is always near the top of my short list. The three-hour drive from Amsterdam may have a deterring effect for most but it wasn’t any different from many road trips we’d taken the past few years, so at half past 8 on a misty, still dark Saturday morning, after a fairly uneventful ride all the way to the southernmost part of Holland and past Antwerp, we reached what is to my mind Belgium’s most beautiful city.
I still remember the magical atmosphere from two years ago, and three years before that, and hoped that it was there again even if this early in the season. While the city was just as beautiful as in previous times, the market in the main square unfortunately was considerably lacking this time. Not a lot of stalls, and rather plain to be honest, with too many people. Thankfully the two Kathe Wohlfahrt stores – which were at different ends of the old center and we both made an effort to see – more than made up for the shortcomings and I left feeling accomplished for having made the trek around town and more importantly for not buying a single thing. No nutcracker, no Christmas tree decor, nothing. The season is still early and with a few more weekends before the big day, there’s more than enough time to be less fiscally responsible – my hunt for the perfect wreath is still on.