Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bruges: It's a fairy tale town || Travel Diary

(Travel Day 7)
Welcome to Belgium. A land best known for two of my favourite things: chocolate and beer. This was our first official Busabout stop and it's still my favourite historic town we saw.

 Everywhere you look, you are presented with higgledy-piggledy brick buildings, cobblestone roads, canals, and friendly locals. Let me tell you, I called it "so cute" a ridiculous amount of times.
 Not to mention the gorgeous gothic style castles and belfry that surround the town square. Turrets, arched windows, flags flying and intricate sculptures of lions and bears. It's not hard to take a good photo in Bruges, because you are presented with so much beauty.
 We ventured into Burg Sqaure and the old town centre in the late afternoon, shortly after it had rained. One of the best things about this time was the lack of tourists (most come in on tour buses spend the afternoon and then leave). You can see from our photos, we had the run of the place almost to ourselves.
 All of the buildings had a golden glow about them, making them seem all the more magical and mysterious.
 The main focus point in the Square was the famous Belfry. All we knew about Bruges prior to our travels was from the movie "In Bruges" so we were excited to see the famous belfry where it all ended. (No spoilers)
 My other favourite thing about sightseeing after the rain is rainbows. We were treated to another gorgeous sight of the natural variety when this beauty popped up in the sky. So naturally I took a bunch of photos.
Double rainbow!
With over 500 different varieties of Belgian beer we capped our first evening in Bruges with a couple of tasty brews. We never had the same one twice. Beer is super cheap here!
Our next day began with a "Quasimodo Bike tour" where the history, and quaint charms of this town were explained by a fun, quirky and informative local guide. He explained the significance of all the lions and bears we had seen the day before. That in the last 11 centuries, they have had a singular victory against France, and have been independent for a total of 28 days, very much deserving of the proud and dangerous mascots *ahem*.
 Because of this occupation by many other countries the locals are multi-lingual in Flemish, French and German. One way to tell the difference is that "the Flemish sing, and the Germans shout" when speaking!

On that note, here's a question: where do French fries come from? Trick question? Yes! 
The Belgians claim that American soldiers were introduced to these chips by foreign soldiers speaking French, thus assuming the name French fries. However those soldiers were actually French speaking Belgians. Funny huh!?
 This is the sacred temple where a vial of Christ's blood is kept. Or so they say.
 They even have a famous dog in town. He can be seem most days laying on his blanket over looking one of the canals. He had a short feature in "In Bruges" but it hasn't gone to his head.
 Now, by this time in the tour the rain had picked up and so we happily headed for a local brewery. Where we had a chance to get to know our fellow tourists and learn more about all things beer. Also, the way we say Bruges is infact the french pronunciation. The locals use the Flemish name which is Brugee (said "Brew-ha") sounds a bit like brew ha(eaven) to me.... okay, that was terrible. I'll stop.
 After we had dried off a bit we continued with our tour, this time around the perimeter of the old town.
This contraption does "the worm", its divided into segments and attached to strings
Viewing "art", bridges and windmills until the end of our tour back in town.
Our tour guide was the bald man on the left pointing.
 After our tour finished we went back to our hostel and attempted hand washing our clothes, which turn out to be more trouble than it was worth in a small sink, having clothes hanging throughout our room when it wasn't warm enough to dry. Maybe it would work better somewhere warmer.
 We ventured back towards to belfry to climb the stairs but alas it had closed for the evening. We still had a chance to look around its base and enjoy the live classical music on offer by local buskers.
It's a bear!
 Belgian fries, truffles and chocolate waffles were consumed. I don't really need to say it, but they all were incredible!
 Then over to the windmills along the border of the town. Brugee is also known for its lace, so if you look closely you can see the mesh fence has lace designs incorporated into them.
Walked around drinking more delicious beer. We had to try as many kinds as we could in a short amount of time.
 And then the sun set on our time in Brugee, and what a time it was.

Quick Summary (TL;DR)

Duration of stay: 1 full, 2 half days
Was it enough time?: Yes, for the old town you can absorb it without getting bored.
Where we stayed: St Christopher's Bauhaus Hostel
Time of Year: May 
Best memories: Quasimodo bike tour and eating Belgian waffles
Worst memories: I came down with a cold on our last morning, so I didn't climb the belfry steps.
Top tip: Best sight seeing is late afternoon when all the tour bus crowds have left.
Next time: I would climb the belfry steps.
Bruges in a word: Medieval
Recommended?: Definitely, its not expensive but very memorable.
Overall experience: 8/10
Next destination: Amsterdam

8 comments:

  1. I love the architecture, so beautiful ♥

    http://blueprintofagirl.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. Pictures are gorgeous!!!Keep in touch
    xx
    Antonella :)
    beautylove7694.blogspot.com

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  3. These pictures are great and it looks like you've had a lovely time. I like the buildings. Great post and keep up the good work.

    LEJA

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    1. Thank you, we did have a lovely time. I would recommend visiting Bruges to anyone. Thank you for the lovely encouragement, I have really enjoyed writing these posts.

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  4. I love city breaks like this! The streets and squire remind me of Amsterdam, I bet you'll have a fab time, it's such a lovely city!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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    Replies
    1. Hi Corinne,
      I agree, visiting some smaller towns in between the big cities allows you to recharge the old batteries and appreciate the sights better. I appreciate the comment as I am now reading a bunch of your really interesting posts. Love your work, keep it up.
      Cheers

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