Our three night short cruise on Ventura included one day at sea and another in the port of Zeebrugge where it would be possible to travel to Ghent, Bruges, or Brussels. With it being a Sunday we realised that a lot of places would be closed no matter where we went so we ruled out the long trek to the country’s capital (the only one we’d not been to before) and settled on the nearest and largest of the two remaining, Bruges. We’d been to Bruges already on the Crown Princess (see: Belgium: Crown Princess) so elected to skip any organised excursions and just spend a few hours in the city on our own. The weather forecast was for occasional rain showers but we got lucky and avoided all but a little bit of spitting on our initial walk into Bruges; the only other time that the weather showed its face was during a hail storm but that took place while we were in a café drinking beer so we didn’t care about that.
The first of our planned stops was to the Bubbles At Home store in search of some of its wonderful soap. On a trip to Ghent earlier in the year on Azura we’d picked up a bar on a whim and discovered it was incredible. We’d checked before this mini cruise and seen that there was another store in Bruges and that it was open on Sunday so this time we stocked up.
Just a few doors away from the soap store was our next stop, the Torture Museum, a small museum of the history of torture located in one of Europe’s oldest prisons. This is one of those places where you really need to take the time to read all the descriptions of the various devices on display to truly appreciate what a barbaric species humans are but there were some fascinating revelations too, such as the early requirement of needing more than just one eye-witness or circumstantial evidence to convict of crimes that triggered the perverse logic of utilising torture as an evidence-gathering mechanism.
The entry fee to the torture museum included a postcard memento which was a nice touch. Highly recommended trip if you’re ever in Bruges.
We resumed walking for a little bit after this to take some more photos and hunt down some place that would sell us beer.
Finding a couple of places to sit down and try some local beers did not prove to be a problem. The first of these was a small café with 20 beers on tap. We only had one each and timed our visit to perfection as we sat and watched hail pelt down outside.
The second place we had a drink was somewhere we’d been before during our Crown Princess cruise visit a few months prior, the Brewery Bourgogne des Flandres. On some future visit we must get around to touring the brewery there but for this particular trip we satisfied ourselves with just a drink each as our time in Bruges was limited.
The remainder of the time was spent casually walking some of the streets of Bruges again, taking a few photos here and there, before making our way back to where we would catch our coach back to the ship.