Stadium adventure in Bruges

Context

Just graduated and not much in mind for the near future, I decided to reward myself with a football weekend. I take a look at the calendar of the teams that are on my bucket list, and my choice goes to one particular fixture : Amsterdam – Feyenoord, the Dutch Clasico on Sunday, October 28th. Since I’m going on my own, I’m thinking that the bill will be a bit high for a weekend, and I’m thinking about how to make this trip more profitable.

I look over a couple of days before and after the game and notice that there is an abundant choice of games throughout the week, in an area quite close to Amsterdam. Plus, it happens to be a European championship week, and there are plenty of European clubs in the area. My football weekend now turns into a very promising  5 day 5 stadiums road trip  After long hours spent studying the best route, the one I choose will take me from Bruges on Wednesday, to my final destination in Amsterdam on Sunday morning.

Day 1 : Bruges

Day 2 : Brussels

Day 3 : Gent

Day 4 : Groningen

Day 5 : Amsterdam

Voyage foot Bruges, Stade

Football trip to Bruges

One day before the game, I get closer to my first destination, Bruges, by spending the night at my sister’s house in Lille, which is only half an hour from Bruges. The next morning, I hop on the first bus to Bruges, for an early arrival. It will allow me to discover the city. Quick stop to drop my bag at the hostel where I will spend the night, and I start exploring Bruges, a city I know nothing about.

I join a city tour that starts from the Grand-Place in the city centre. It is a huge market square that was formerly the city’s trade centre. Thanks to a great guide, I discover the centre of Bruges in 3 hours. This city is clearly out of the ordinary! Chocolates, beers, French fries, I’m for sure in Belgium. The architectural heritage of the historic centre, completely paved, is really original and reflects the wealth of the Flemish people. The canals that are omnipresent in Bruges and that I will find in many of my following destinations (discover my 5 days 5 stadiums road trip) add an unparalleled charm to the city.

FC Bruges – AS Monaco – Champions League, October 2018

European Cup fixture without too much prestige I must say, but with a lot at stake since both teams are in need of points and can still hope to qualify for the next round. On my way to the Jan Breydel stadium, I meet a Monegasque supporter. We discuss the game ahead. He’ll be parked on the visitors’ side while I will watch the game from the home stands with the locals.

The stadium is full, but the footballing level is lower than expected. At least not at the level we expect in the Champions League. The Monegasques, however, are the ones who logically take the lead early on in the game. But the visitors are going to fade out and let their opponents of the day come back, with the support of their fans and to their delight. Final score 1-1 …

Regardless of the sides, the conclusion is the same: I did not attend a great evening of football. This season, Monaco will not make it to the round of 16 and will end up last of the group… This match was also the first time in a Champions League game for Thierry Henry as coach with ASM. I’m not hiding my pleasure to see him again in a stadium. Unfortunately for him, his Monegasque adventure will not necessarily be a success.

My Opinion on this football trip to Bruges

Not going to lie, this football trip to Bruges will leave me with a much better souvenir as a tourist than as a football lover. But I think the national Belgian league matches might be played in a much better atmosphere. The Belgian championship itself is in the midst of a huge transition. As far as Bruges is concerned, the construction of a new stadium is planned for 2022, on the site of the current one. A more personalised stadium than this one, which is shared by the two Bruges clubs, FC Bruges and Cercle Bruges, and which must therefore maintain a certain neutrality.