In search of a workplace in Belgium (Wi-Fi/Strom schmarotzen in Belgien)

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Zuivelbrug, Ghent

Through no-one’s fault but my own, my long-planned trip through Belgium on the way to the UK  via the famous Braderie de Lille was largely cancelled due to work. That is, instead of hunting down fruity beers and mussels, I ended up on the hunt for reasonably priced, laptop-friendly bars and cafés.

Here’s what I found and would recommend:

Li O Lait, Dweerstraat 30, Bruges, +32 (0) 50 70 85 70

www.liolait.be

Although I was generally taken aback by the prices everywhere in Belgium, this place was pretty reasonable. The coffee was fantastic, and the salmon & cream cheese bagel was ridiculously good. Free Wi-Fi, plug points, a bit out of the way so it never got so busy that I felt I was in the way. Range of different ‘zones’ to sit in depending on mood, including a conservatory/winter garden/terrace area at the back.

Le Jardin Bohémian, Burgstraat 19, 9000 Ghent, +32 (0) 9 328 39 48

www.lejardinbohemien.be

This place was dotted with freelancers and MacBooks … Although a bit hard to find (and I found it near closing time, unfortunately,) it was well worth the search. Free Wi-Fi, extension cables, long working benches and a creative, hard-at-work mood. Great choice of tea. They’re also a B&B, which looks fantastic too.

Barista, Zuivelbrug, Meerseniersstraat 16, 9000 Ghent +32 (0) 470 52 36 51

www.tendertobarista.be

A welcome find when in urgent need of coffee at 8 a.m. I think I was their first customer of the day. Very friendly, excellent quality food and coffee, free Wi-Fi and very happy for me to plug in. I think they’re a chain, although I didn’t check out their other branches. Fresh, white interior but still cosy. Quiet music, calm, work-conducive environment. Definitely recommended.

Work taken care of, there was a little time left for the usual vintage and yarn shop hunt (try Woolboetik, Nordstraat 20, Ghent, for replacement DPNs and KnitPros but not really much else, and the great Oxfam Vintage store at Bij Sint Jacobs 12, Ghent) before heading off to Lille for the Braderie …

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