Our last full day in Bruges and we decided to do as the locals do – get on our bikes. A cycle to Damme was the plan, grey skies and plenty of clouds did not deter us, in hindsight that was actually perfect cycling weather. We found a bicycle hire place in Bruges near the Conference Hall, there is no end of choice, this was just the first one we came upon and we booked up for half a day. The cycling was a breeze – flat, easy and right up my street. The hardest part of the whole day was dragging those bikes up from the underground storage area.
Damme is 6 miles outside Bruges, a historic and pretty little village in its own right. We pedalled out of Bruges on a wide cycle track which took us past the railway station, over a bridge and out of town. A couple of road crossings to navigate but it was mainly very safe and carefree.
Soon we were on a flat canal path, the odd windmill looming on the horizon made Son very excited. I loved the bikes – so comfortable and a joy to ride.
The poplar lined Napoleon Canal that connects Damme and Bruges is perfect for cycling and ideal with children. Traffic-free and not at all busy, you don’t have to stress or worry at all. We cycled up towards Damme on one side of the water and back on the other. Both tracks were peaceful and quiet, the entire ride to Damme and back took about 90 minutes.
Arriving in Damme it started to pour with rain, we chained up our bikes and promptly found a lunch spot. Huddled over Croque Monsieurs we waited for the weather to clear. Food and drink in Damme was a bit of a bargain compared to Bruges as we were pleased to discover.
Rain over we explored a little on foot. This tiny place was once Bruge’s outer harbour and seagoing ships unloaded their cargoes until the Zwin outlet silted up in 1520.
As a fan of the BBC drama “The White Queen” focussing on the relationship between Edward IV and his commoner wife Elizabeth Woodville I had an extra reason for wanting to visit Damme – several scenes were filmed in the 15th century town hall in the main square.
We ambled around the few streets that make up Damme. Pretty and with some intriguing art work here and there it is a pleasant place to stroll for a little while.
Soon it was time to get back on our bikes and cycle to Bruges again. Exercise, scenery and sightseeing – the perfect last morning in Belgium.