To be honest, I find the term “babymoon” a bit cringe but nonetheless I was determined to indulge in one! I thought it would be a lovely opportunity to spend some quality time together as a couple and take stock away from the usual distractions pre new arrival. We decided a weekend away would be perfect. We didn’t want to use up lots of Ani’s annual leave entitlement and couldn’t justify spending a fortune having bought lots of the necessary baby paraphernalia. Less than two weeks ahead of our departure we booked our weekend in Bruges which would be five week’s ahead of my due date.
Given we would only be having a two night trip, we wanted somewhere very accessible so travel time would be minimised. Bruges fitted the bill perfectly as we could take our own car, travel with ease on the Channel Tunnel and then only have a 90 minute drive from Calais to the city centre. Neither of us had visited Bruges before so that was another pre requisite as it makes exploring much more fun!
Given that we were booking less than two weeks in advance, I didn’t have the luxury to indulge in my useful extensive holiday research! Nonetheless, finding suitable accommodation (bit quirky, great location and good value) didn’t turn out to be an issue. We managed to secure a lovely room at Huis ‘t Schaep, a small Guesthouse within close walking distance to places of interest. The Guesthouse had sweet touches throughout such as stained glass windows, fireplaces and a communal drinks lounge with an honesty box. There was even a small communal terrace which would be perfect for a glass of wine in slightly balmier temperatures. The room was a great size with a nicely fitted out bathroom and I slept without issue, which of course isn’t always an easy feat at any stage of pregnancy.
The breakfast was very well put together with fruit and yoghurt to start, pastries, breads and then a small but nicely cooked hot dish; boiled or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or bacon as well as juices and the usual tea and coffee selections. We parked the car a few minutes away in the multi storey car park which was reasonably priced and also sheltered from the snow that fell during our stay!
Things to do
Wander the streets and canals
One of my favourite things to do on a city break is to explore on foot, taking in the atmosphere and seeing what we stumble across (hopefully not literally!). Bruges lends itself to this perfectly with its canals and pretty medieval housing stock. It was definitely on the chilly side when we visited so it was good to keep moving. It’s always nice to wrap up in cosy winter knits and bobble hats! Looking back at many of the pictures it does look rather on the grey side but such can be the weather in February! Be sure not to miss Rozenhoedkaai, one of Bruge’s photo hotspots! Unfortunately I didn’t heed my own advice and capture a decent snap!
I’d say this is the heart of the city with its large square, surrounded by attractive medieval buildings, allowing ample photo opportunities. However, it does feel a little on the touristy side with its horse and carriage rides and the like and for this reason we avoided eating at this main square.
This attraction is situated at Markt and we decided to spend the morning here when snow started to fall. This is quite a unique and extremely bizarre experience; “a historical experience attraction, takes you back in time to medieval Bruges (15th century)” involving film, music and special effects. We paid for the virtual reality experience too which was a highlight as something a bit different to do and provided a fair few laughs watching everyone total immersed in the experience! There was also an open air viewing platform (ascended by a very manageable staircase) and a small museum to learn a little about local history.
We rounded the visit off with a drink from the bar overlooking Markt, also included within our entry price. To sum up, the core attraction was rather odd and although it amused us for around 90 minutes it felt like a typical tourist attraction that was on the expensive side for what you got.
I thoroughly enjoyed our guided tour of the De Halve Maan Brewery which has been run for centuries by the Maes family. The group size was a happy medium with an interactive and knowledgeable guide. The brewery is very cutting edge as they had recently completed an underground beer pipeline across Bruges and it was fun to hear about their crowd funding efforts and offerings including Gold status investors getting a bottle of beer per day for the rest of their lives as part of the deal.
A beer is included in the ticket price which I didn’t partake in for obvious reasons but my husband was more than happy to have double measures!
Top tip: if you’re feeling organised, you are now able to book tickets online, just be sure to book onto the one with your desired language.
Marvel at chocolate creations…
Strangely, we didn’t actually end up indulging in any Belgium chocolates ourselves, although we did buy a couple of boxes as gifts. We did enjoy having a look at the wonderfully creative designs and window displays at The Chocolate Line which had an extra wow factor given our visit was a few days before Valentine’s Day!
Our babymoon perfectly met our expectations; it was close enough to home that getting there wasn’t an ordeal and we didn’t feel any pressure to race around ticking of the “must sees” as you might in other places (not that I’d have been able to very easily). It was the perfect blend of doing what we wanted in the moment, having some nice food and drink and enjoying some quality time as a twosome!
Top tips for a babymoon
- Remember to take all medical notes and contact numbers with you in case of emergency.
- Think carefully about when in the pregnancy to go away and to where. You can’t predict how you will feel at any point in your pregnancy with any certainty. That’s why we booked ours relatively last minute.
- Be realistic in your plans for the time away – take it easy!! See point 2!
- Heed any medical and travel advice, for example, don’t travel anywhere with the Zika virus if pregnant or trying in the near future. Check the UK Government travel website for the most up to date advice (or that of your own country).
- Consider how accessible the accommodation and location of choice is. Think about lift access and local terrain so you dont end up hauling bump over mountains if that’s not your thing!
- Remember to remain mindful and vigilant over food choices and the recommendations made for pregnant women by medical professionals.