According to the venerable Rick Steves, Bruges is a “heavyweight, sightseeing destination, as well as a joy.” And if Rick Steves says it, it must be true. Over the course of two days my friend and I experienced this joy on bike and on foot, doing what we like to do when visiting any European city – find the thrift stores, drink coffee and people-watch. All of these, in the words of Rick Steves, were a pure joy in Bruges.
In the thrift store, which encompassed several buildings in the old city, there was contained everything you might need to set up house and home. It also hosted a small café where lunch was served – cheap. At the café I bought a half kilo of Belgium pancakes (like crêpes) for 3 Euro. What a bargain! Where else can you buy Belgian pancakes by the kilo? I’m fairly certain this store isn’t on the regular tourist track.
And the people-watching! One morning I sat in the main market square (Grote Markt) and watched masses of tour groups with every major touring company I had heard of – MSC, Viking River Cruises, etc. The tour guides held up their token of identification and their small entourage clung close by, not wanting to get mixed up with the wrong tour group. There were tours in every language catering to every possible demographic. Earlier in the morning this square had been nearly empty. By midmorning, it was swarming, ripe for people-watching.
Want great views of the city? Climb the bell tower (pictured above in the Market Square). At the top of the tower you’ll get views like these (pictured below).
One thing I loved about Bruges were the small, postcard perfect vignettes around every corner. Here are a few.
And everyone wants to know about chocolate in Belgium. We entered one shop off a main street and waited for several minutes while a local granny, apparently a regular at this particular shop, bought 80 Euros worth of handmade, gourmet chocolate. They aren’t messing around. The shop pictured below is one of the most well-known in the city.
If you want tourist information or professional photos of Bruges, read Rick Steves and search the web. It’s all there. What the web can’t give you is memories of actually visiting. These are simply some of my photos and memories of my Bruges. What was your Bruges like?
This series is brought to you by the letter “B” and pertains to our family’s recent three week stint in Europe. If you want to be sure not to miss a post, sign up to receive the blog via email on the lefthand column.
If you missed the previous posts in this series, the links are posted below.
Part II: Beauty’s BOLLENE (or what it means to be French)
3 responses to “Part IV: BRUGES, Belgium”
[…] Part IV: BRUGES, Belgium […]
Seeing the world with a good friend is a special blessing. Away from both our homes, in a different setting and culture, brings us closer!
I’d say, “Next year in Paris.” but we’ve already done that. 🙂 Next year, it will simply be somewhere at sometime. Can’t get enough of seeing the world with you my friend.