A Birthday in Bruges

I think I’m a little weird when it comes to birthdays. Usually, I try not to care about my birthday and I rarely plan anything, sometimes even trying to pretty much ignore the date. In the past, I would rather take an extra shift at my part time job in a clothing store than throw a huge birthday party. Somehow, birthday parties never really worked out the way I planned them and so I stopped doing something special, because I think I’m just too afraid to be disappointed.

Instead of throwing a party, lately I developed a habit of “not being there “on my birthday. I just spent my special day with a few very good friends somewhere nice — far off phones, letterboxes, and facebook. I celebrated my 24th birthday at a festival headbanging with my little sister when The Subways played Rock’N’Roll Queen. I turned 25 in Munich visiting a good friend and spent the day exploring the cute city of Augsburg, Bavaria, with another great friend: Home cooked dinners and catching up with true friends means just so much more to me than a big birthday party!

It might not be for everyone, but I loved not being there on my birthdays — no phone calls, no checking my facebook. Just good friends, great places and creating beautiful and truly meaningful birthday memories.

This year, I tried something entirely new: Traveling abroad for my 26th birthday! (Strange, that it took me this long to think of this. In my defense though: This was the very first I year I didn’t have to attend school in July). A getaway to a new country and a new city with my boyfriend Steffen sounded like my perfect birthday present. And the gorgeous city of Bruges in Belgium was the ideal choice for my birthday trip — because, of course I would choose a city which is famous for its quaint medieval atmosphere, right?

So how did I spend my birthday in Bruges? Easy: Eating fries, drinking beer, swooning over immensely cute architecture. Because apparently, that’s exactly what Bruges was made for. Also, that’s what birthdays were made for.

Here are a few of my favorite birthday moments in Bruges:

Starting the day with a slow stroll along the old city borders of medieval Bruges — to find out that Belgium has windmills too! (Who knew?)

Windmill in Bruges, Belgium

Photographing an abundance of picturesque little streets full of flowers, bikes and brick houses with those typical Belgian pediments — everything I imagined Belgium to look like!

Brick houses in Bruges, Belgium

Roses in Bruges, Belgium

Doors in Bruges, Belgium

Julika in front of a brick wall in Bruges, Belgium

Street in Bruges, Belgium

Flowers in Bruges, Belgium

A very necessary birthday sweets break by the canal with a delicous raspberry cupcake!

Cupcake in Bruges, Belgium

Julika in Bruges, Belgium

A cheesy, touristy boat ride on the canals — it’s such a Bruges cliché, but we just had to do it!

Canal boat ride in Bruges, Belgium

Bruges seen from the water, Belgium

Sipping a cappuccino in the afternoon sun on one of the beautiful old squares in the city center

Great market square in Bruges, Belgium

Coffee in Bruges, Belgium

Great market square in Bruges, Belgium

Taking stupid self-timer-style photos of us on one of Bruges’ iconic bridges

Julika and Steffen in Bruges, Belgium

Dining in a famous beer brasserie — with a local brew and Belgium’s signature dish: Mussels and fries. So incredibly delicious!

Beer in Bruges, Belgium

Mussels in Bruges, Belgium

And a post-storm nighttime stroll along the canals to see Bruges at its best: Perfectly lit, wet glimmering cobblestones, gorgeous reflections on the dark canal water!

Bruges, Belgium at night

Bruges, Belgium at night

Bruges, Belgium at night

Bruges, Belgium at night

All in all: A perfect birthday for an almost art historian with a (newly discovered) serious love for Belgian fries. Bruges really made me a very happy birthday girl!

Have you ever celebrated your birthday abroad?