Thursday, July 05, 2012

In Brugges (not quite like the movie), Belgium

To See Our Photos of Belgium, Click Here

View from the Belfry
A day in Brugges, and hopefully it doesn't turn out like the movie!!!  We borrowed a car and drove down to the outskirts of Brugges, as with everything in Belgium, it was only an hour away.  Finding free parking for the day, we walked into the old town area across the drawbridge, and through what seemed like old city wall battlements.  Greeted by a row of old style windmills, mounted on the top of small hills.  Walking up to the base of the windmills, you get a view over the old town, and a little taste of what our day will be like.
The entire town of Brugge is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, basically a living museum.  From the small hills, we could see all the interesting towers, belfry, church spires, etc that are buried in the centre of the old city.  The old town is really stunning, and we enjoyed walking
A view down to Markt, from the Belfry tower
along the canals, and seeing the architecture.  Lunch was a of the picnic variety, and we enjoyed on the edge of the canal.
Making our way in to the main square - Markt square, we were disappointed as there was big market going on, and all kinds of trucks were parked in the square, with fast foods and such.  You couldn't really get nice photos with all these ugly trucks around.   Turns out, this market is only on once a week, and by the time I had waited in line, then climbed the 366 steps up the 83m tall Belfry tower, the trucks were pulling away, clearing out the Markt square.  I'm pretty sure this tower is the one where (in the movie "In Brugge") the guy jumps out of the tower to warn his friend about the boss' arrival in Brugge.  It's pretty high, so I could imagine this making quite an impact!!  You get views 360deg
Stadhuis in the Berg
around Brugge, seeing all the orange roofs, stepped gables, and canals around town.  You can even see the modern style wind farms in the distance, compared with the old style windmills in town.  Once again, I was a bit disappointed in Brugges. You climb all the way to the top of the wonderful tower, and all around the window area, they've installed a new, but tight meshed cable system for protection.  I can understand that they need protection for people and objects, but having a nice big camera, I wasn't really able to take any decent photos without getting cable close up in my photos.  People with small point and shoots were fine, as their camera lens would fit through the holes!!  Also, just from a visual standpoint, you cannot really see the scenery clearly, as there is all this cable.  There must be a better way!!
Painting Brugge
But I digress......   Another beautiful square is the Berg.  This is where Belgium's oldest Stadhuis (city hall) is located, and it is an immaculate, intricate building.  It's been added on to many, many times, but is very impressive and takes a commanding stance in the square.  We treated ourselves a little and took a boat trip around the canals!!  Under the old bridges, behind the buildings, seeing little nooks and restaurants tucked along the canal, you really get a different perspective of the town.  Then we walked to some of the more picturesque places along the route.
We finished our day in Brugge in an absolute monsoon.  The heavens opened as we hustled back to our free parking spot.  We didn't make it, and followed the rivers of water, a bit soggy, to the car.  After all these wonderful shops, we couldn't find one open to hide from the rain.
MMMmmmmm...... Chocoholic
But, it's amazing really how many chocolate shops, and chocolatiers that are actually in Brugges.  Pretty much every street had a chocolate shop, or multiple ones next to each other - how do you possibly choose.  With pralines, marzipan, cuberdons, sweets, you name it, they had it!  We especially liked the one called Chocoholic!!  And next to those were Belgian waffle stands!  It's a very gastronomic country - we have no idea how all the locals stay slim!!  *Stub

Brugge streets from the Belfry tower

Michelle in the Markt square

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