Our Bruges Bolt Hole

Smugly I thought I was completely in control and super organised for this trip to Bruges. The perfect property was identified and decided upon, we left it a week before booking, then discovered we’d missed out and it was already taken. That was precisely thirteen months before this holiday. Disappointment rife it was back to the drawing board, we promptly reserved our number two choice – Huize Ewoud found on HomeAway and paid the deposit post haste. Hindsight is a great thing though, I am glad we ended up where we did. The house was charming, the owner was responsive, helpful and a delight to work with and the location worked well.

We found the house very easily, just a few straight roads off the motorway to Brussels and we were there. A non descript residential street but it was quiet and peaceful, I don’t think we saw a single person during our comings and goings. Free on-street parking and most of the time a spot right outside the front door – an unexpected bonus.ย All that plus super convenient for getting out of Bruges, a great location.

08.02.40 - Bruges

08.02.41 - Bruges

Inside the front door was the most charming house, dating back to 1930 but completely renovated. All the mod-cons you could ever need in a style sympathetic to the origins of the property. Everything was tasteful and lovely.

08.02.42 - Bruges

An open-plan ground floor had a large living area with flatscreen television, the airy kitchen/diner had an American style fridge, loads of workspace and everything you could need. The big glass doors opened out onto a south-facing garden and the wooden bench style table came in handy for al-fresco breakfasts. Loads of glasses, cutlery and crockery too although our cooking was basic to say the least. Free, speedy WiFi and we were all set.

08.02.44 - Bruges

08.02.45 - Bruges

Two more floorsย up the narrowest stairs ever – not sure if this is a Belgian quirk, I don’t have the largest feet in the world but felt safer turning them sideways to go down.

Two bedrooms in the middle floor and right on top, the piece de resistance, a huge attic bedroom with dormer windows in the roof and big window overlooking the garden – light, spacious and lovely.

08.02.51 - Bruges

We paid extra for sheets and towels, plenty of all to go round but a slight downside was the bathroom. It was superb – huge with jumbo sized bath, wet-room style shower and double basins, the strange thing was you accessed it via one of the double bedrooms. Fine for us, we all get on well, but maybe not the norm and it wouldn’t be my preference. The other slight negative, a house catering for eight people and just one bathroom….

08.02.49 - Bruges

Seriously hot temperatures during our stay meant we needed the windows open at night for ventilation. Cool and lovely except for a platoon of invisible insects which turned me into a midnight feast. Each and every night I was munched on, the Guinness Book of Records award for most bites in one week had to go to me. Note to self, do not be complacent about plug-in bug things ever again. Husband never normally suffers – he is not to the insects’ taste but even he had a few nasty, red bumps in Bruges.

A couple of supermarkets nearby, several great little bakeries on the doorstep and we were able to keep well stocked.

08.02.46 - Bruges

The house was a little way out of the centre of Bruges – a good twenty minute walk. The first evening we felt a bit disappointed, preferring really to be closer to the action. However the walk was nice, flat and interesting, plenty of things to look at along the way so we got used to it and by the end of the week my waistline definitely thanked me that we had a short hike to reach the bars and chocolate shops. Even Son found nothing to grumble about with this walk – that is definitely the seal of approval.

08.02.47 - Bruges

The perfect Bruges bolt hole in the end, we loved staying in this house and felt like locals. Reluctance to leave at after a weekย was balanced out by relief (on my part) that the mosquito bites were at an end. I would go back here again, just armed with a suitcase of bug spray.

41 thoughts on “Our Bruges Bolt Hole

  1. I’m a mosquito magnet, too, and I can’t figure out why you don’t have screens on the windows in Europe. Here in the US, we have screens on every window that opens The flat is absolutely beautiful aside from the screen situation, however. Great find, Joy. I can’t wait to see more of Bruges.

    • We go to Florida every year in October and my husband and I have the same conversation every year about those screens – I have no idea why we don’t have them here, they are superb. As well as mosquitoes they stop other horrible things getting into the house. We always remark on it about outdoor pools in people’s homes too, I just love the pool screens and the assurance there will be no nasties in the water!! Definitely an opportunity for some entrepreneur here I think!! Apart from the bugs though it was a special place to stay – so much space and so lovely, I’m glad we got our second choice!!

  2. Great find! This is why after getting our first holiday rent we couldn’t go back to stay in a hotel anymore. So much more space!

    As for bug screens, I guess summer in Europe is always way too short to bother with the investment.

    • We are exactly the same – if it’s just a night or two then we usually stay in a hotel, any longer then we look for a rental place and have loved everything we’ve ever found – this one no less!! Hadn’t thought about that with the bug screens Cherrie but I guess you are right – in England at the moment we’d only use them for a week!!

  3. I love the idea of staying in an apartment Joy – we went to Bruges 4 years ago and stayed in the lovely Hotel Tuilerieen right by one of the central canals but our room in the attic was a bit cramped. On the other hand we did have a spacious bathroom! However we were only staying a couple of nights so it was ideal for us. It was also unseasonally hot (we were there in April) and I had to go out and buy some summer clothes having only brought warmer clothing from Australia! I bought quite a few tops from Zara in Bruges! The apartment must have been a tranquil retreat for you – Bruges is lovely but packed with tourists even in April it was crowded! Loved it though – it had such a charm about it. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Ireland and have a lovely weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    • We started staying in holiday rentals since we had our son Rosemary – the idea of a bit more space and the flexibility to cater for a very fussy eater just made a lot of sense!! He’s fine with the eating now but we still like the idea of space, very little cooking goes on but it’s nice to have the option sometimes. We loved this place, and Bruges – we visited in August when the weather was a bit mixed, mostly hot but the odd wet day. The idea of shopping for new tops would not be a problem for me too – any excuse!! We had a nice time in Ireland, now trying to catch up on blog reading – that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend – hope yours is a good one too Rosemary.

      • Yes it makes a lot of sense with kids – we used to do the same. We only stay in hotels now that we are usually travelling as a couple (though Mlle came to Munich for part of our last trip!). I agree it’s nice to have the option to cook if you’d like to as well – sometimes you just don’t want to eat out or get room service! Enjoy your blog catch up time and have a lovely weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I thought it was crazy too – never booked accommodation that far ahead ever I don’t think!! It worked well, we loved the place and the location – the fact it had a little garden was also fantastic.

      • I remembered when I went to Bruges a few years ago, I booked the room a few months in advance and I struggled so much to find accommodation for 1 night ! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s really a popular spot !!

  4. Loved the open floor plan, and how spacious it felt. I’d really hate giving up my American refrigerator for the small ones you guys on that side of the pond normally use. It made me smile when you commented on the “American frig”.
    Not sure I’d like the wet shower much. The open top is okay, but not having a curtain or door to keep the mist and water contained would bug me. When in the UK or France I always manage to get water all over the place when showering. Sigh.

    I feel your pain regarding bug bites. The bugs like me too. One night out shooting the stars recently I was something’s evening meal. I’m still healing. Man, do I hate how much they itch. Hope you have Benedryl cream, or similar to help heal the bites quicker.

    Like you I’d find all that walking a Godsend at the end of the trip when I found my waistline no bigger. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Oh how much do I love your huge refrigerators – when there was one in this place that just made my day!! The shower actually worked ok – it was huge and the rest of the bathroom seemed to stay really dry. The only downside was those bugs – don’t know why but they just love me too!!

  5. Strange how some people attract bugs and others don’t. When my family lived in Florida and Texas my mother and I would walk down the street… where I passed there would be a person-sized hole in the clouds of bugs as they were all on me chomping away, but my mother was never bothered. Never been to Bruge and now I know the mosquitoes are waiting for me there maybe I will pass!

    • They feast on me any opportunity they get – I hate it!! There were 5 of us staying here, the others got a few bites between them, I was covered. Can’t understand it either. I never thought it would be this bad in Bruges, I had been there years ago and don’t remember anything like this, also in Brussels I had no problems – weird.

    • I fell completely in love with that kitchen too Pam – it was just wonderful – a real treat to be able to use it for a week!! Those bugs…. what can you do… they drive me crazy!! Hope your weekend is a great one too.

  6. What an adorable place to stay! (Aside from the single bathroom!) I’m contemplating the idea of apartments instead of hotels when my family visits, but I think there’d be war if all 6 of us had to share a bathroom haha

    • I know exactly what you mean – a lack of bathrooms does not make for great family relations!! This place was perfect in every other way, just a bit of a strange set up with the bathroom. We usually travel with family during the summer and always go for a rental, it works really well for us.

  7. Looks beautiful. We had an apartment when we went to Bruges last year, though it was nothing like as luxurious as yours! More central though. All we really used it for was sleeping and breakfast, but it’s nice to be less pressured than in a hotel.

    • Completely agree Anabel – we just love the extra space and the fact this place had a garden was perfect for our son. We did the same as you – breakfast and sleeping but there were 5 of us, being able to spread out makes all the difference. I would probably have preferred to be a bit central but that was the trade off for car parking and that garden. I did need the walk though, the overindulgence during the day didn’t feel so bad with a nightly hike!!

      • We didn’t have a car so that wasn’t a problem. We walked around a lot during the day which must have got rid of some of the excess calories – maybe!

    • We’ve used it a lot and always been pleased with what we’ve found. You get to deal with the owner too which always seems to work really well. This place for 5 of us probably worked out cheaper than a week in a hotel in Bruges – all that space too…. you just can’t go wrong.

  8. They often say that things happen for a reason – and it’s times like this when that saying applies. I can’t believe your first choice was booked 13 months in advance! The house has a lovely look to it – love the open place living area – bright and airy. I’m glad that the walk into the centre was interesting, somethings a good walk home can be a good thing especially if you’ve had a big meal or lots of waffles ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It was a superb place to stay for sure – that walk too, although I didn’t realise the first evening, was very necessary. It meant plenty of waffle eating could go on without such terrible consequences to the waistline!!

  9. Feel free to drop by my blog if you are looking for further ideas of places to visit in Belgium. I don’t cover the main tourist traps but focus on the smaller, less well-known areas. Love your blog by the way!

    • Thanks Denzil – wish I’d come across your blog before this trip, that would have been so helpful!! Looks great though, especially enjoyed reading about the cat parade in Ypres, I definitely think we’ll be back in Belgium sometime. Now I know where to look for some good tips as well!

  10. Lovely choice for accommodation, wish I had known about it prior to our visit last year! What is it with mosquitoes (mozzies as we like to call them down under) – brings back bad memories of Venice where my little one got eaten alive… still has a scar to show for it and we also had issues in Bruges…

    • Those mozzies – we call them that too – bane of my life. They munched me on this trip in Bruges and I just wasn’t expecting it. They also ruined a weekend for me in Venice years ago too, I remember we spent a week at Lake Garda and a night in Verona with no mozzie issues, arriving in Venice they must have been waiting for me. I was actually glad to get on the plane home in the end I was bitten so much. Hideous and even worse when it’s a little one affected.

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