Our castle away from home in medieval Brugge

Traipsing around the globe is oftentimes quite the daunting task, requiring bucket-loads of energy, stamina, perseverance and last but not least, a comfy pair of soles for hiking around endless miles of foreign rues and avenues in quest of suitable accommodation, a home away from home and a place to rest those oh so weary blistered tootsies.  Unfortunately for us, my shoestring budget and lack of royal pedigree excluded us from both the privilege of bunking with the Queen and partaking of afternoon tea and crumpets at the Palace, being more realistically in line with pitching tents in campgrounds and napping on park benches.  A far cry from the jet setting lifestyle of the rich and famous that my starry eyed 16 year old niece strove to emulate, horrified to learn that instead of taking up residence at a ritzy glitzy five star hotel, we would instead be checking into a far more economical one or two star (if we were lucky) budget friendly inn.  The key word here was budget, meaning cheap, affordable, cost efficient and bargain basement priced lodging. My only requirements were that our hotel was located in a safe and well lit area of town, and was not a flea infested motel which bordered on the perimeters of skid row.  Who was the delusional one here?  A cheapo frugal Auntie scrimping her pennies or money is no object imaginary aristocrat Miss Kid?

Never one to stray far from home without some sort of back-up plan in place, as sleeping in airport terminals or train stations was neither the most desirable nor practical of options, especially since the Kid’s over-bearing mother would be appalled upon finding out that her daughter’s European holiday was spent camped out in an over-crowded and possibly germ infested, airport lounge - no, better to be on the safe side then and scour the web for that gem of a find and score the deal of a lifetime at a fraction of the price.

And that is how I cleverly stumbled across Hotel Malleberg, a three star (count ‘em , three lucky stars!!) charmingly quaint inn situated literally smack dab on prime real estate, peeking around the corner from Bruges’ main square.  Boasting spacious rooms (quite the rarity in European budget hotels) overlooking a flower strewn courtyard, this reasonably priced family friendly inn did not disappoint and was a welcoming sanctuary for our tired and weary bones.  Literally a step away from shops, bistros and fine dining establishments, the hotel exceeded all of our expectations, and was truly our castle away from home, a place to call our own for the four days that we were in the medieval Belgian town.  The icing on the cake being that even Le Niece was surprisingly impressed, enthralled by its homey comfiness, our room on the top floor large enough to give each of us our desired space.  

Breakfast was a gastronomic delight of eggs, cheese, salamis and a buffet of cold cuts, yogurt, fruit, bread and croissants.  The ever smiling proprietor was eager to please, ensuring that each guest was adequately fed, continually replenishing the dining table with fresh and savoury sustenance.  Satiated by endless cups of steaming cafĂ© au lait, I was oftentimes reluctant to leave my perch, daydreaming the hours away as I scribbled in my journal at the start of each morn.  Sequestered in a cozy nook in the 16th century stone walled cellar, I was cocooned in contented bliss, as inspiration literally oozed from pen to paper, gifting me page after page of calligraphic musings.  It goes without saying that those early morning moments in time are just one of many cherished memories of my stay at this ever so charming hotel.

And when Miss Niece and I were sufficiently tuckered out after spending countless hours meandering the cobblestoned and canal lined pathways, our old-fashioned inn was a warm and inviting beacon of light welcoming our wearied souls to our temporary home away from home.  Sounds a bit clichĂ©, mais oui, but oh so true.

Come check your bags at the inn and experience the warmth of Belgian hospitality at the cutest and quaintest of family owned hotels, a budget friendly establishment waiting to introduce you to the charm of cute as a postcard medieval Bruges.

Next week – where else in Bruges do our pink-sneakered feet take us?  Stay tuned!!

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