It was November of 2014 when I went backpacking in Europe. I was so excited and I planned on seeing a lot of small towns. On my second week, I went to Belgium. Instead of staying in Brussels, I headed to Brugge or spelled as Bruges. Sadly, I got a flu when I was there. I couldn’t bear the cold and body aches so I spent days indoor in a hostel. Later on, when I felt a little better, I decided to go on a misty, dreary morning around the town.
There is always a soft spot in my heart for small towns with brick houses, cobblestones narrow streets, palaces, historical buildings, and castles. This is why I love visiting towns or cities in Europe. Seeing this kind of place, is new to me. I came from a place where mostly mountains, green surrounding of trees, nature and beaches, so visiting Europe was very exciting for me.
I can describe Bruges as small Venice because of its canals or waterways. The whole town is a historical place and one of the Heritage Site of UNESCO. From Amsterdam, it is approximately 3 hours and the train cost is between 29 euros to 50 euros. If you book early, you can get the seat sale.
Bruges and other cities in Belgium are considered to be the richest in Europe in old days and these places are called Flanders which refers to Dutch- speaking country. Some parts of Flanders are Netherlands and France. People speaks Flemish Dutch and English.
I got a free map from the hostel and started walking going to Minnewater Lake . They call it the Lake of Love and I can’t deny it, it is a romantic setting. To add that vibrant colors of trees during Autumn makes it a photographic place in Bruges; away from the crowd of the town. There is a legend about this Lake. The name comes from a pretty girl named Minna who was in love with a warrior named Stromberg. Legend says, that she died of exhaustion from running when her father disagree of her love for the warrior. That’s what they told me. True or not, but I can say that the place is definitely romantic.
After, I went to see the St. Salvator’s Cathedral or Sint- Salvatorskathedraal but it was not open to public during my visit.
I visited the Beguinage or Begijnhof, a convent which has a small chapel, a souvenir shop, bakery and few houses. Women living here are called Beguines and they devote their lives not to marry, to serve the poor and take care of those who are sick but not properly taking vows and they are can leave anytime they want. On the the chapel, one elderly Beguine rang the chapel bell for prayer time. You can light a candle for 2 euros and you can offer some donations on the chapel.
Other churches to see are Church of our Lady of Bruge and the Basilica of the Holy Blood.
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is located in the Burg Square, and beside the Town Hall of Bruges. The Burg Square serves as an open market but they close as early as 3pm during winter.
The Town Hall or Stadhuis considered to be one of the oldest building in Bruges that looks like a castle with its Gothic facade.
Church of our Lady of Bruge, is the tallest buiding in the city. It is taller than Belfry Tower of Bruges that stands more than 122 meters and basically made of bricks. Just walking distance from the Market Square
A visit to European cities will not be complete without shopping and to visit the Christmas Markets. Belgium is famous for “Belgian Chocolates“. you can find it in every corner. If you like waffles with chocolate, it will just cost you 2euros- 4 euros. Fries & sausages from 8 euros to 15 euros.Who would not want to try Belgian waffles and Chocolates?
Belfry Tower is the famous landmark of Bruge. Located in The main Market Square. It has a long history. Once you enter, you can see all the old pictures, history and all renovations done from the fire that took all most of important documents and from the lightning strike.
As pet the information about Belfry of Bruge, for security reasons they can accept maximum of 70 persons at the same time in the tower. The ascent of the tower with its 366 steps and narrow and steep passages requires significant physical effort. Visitors should be wearing the right shoes.
Carillon Concerts are throughout the year on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am and from mid-June to mid-September, also Monday and Wednesday at 9pm.
Bruges Belfry is part of an impressive 13th century halls building. In the Middle Ages the hall was used for storing and displaying the much-coveted Flemish cloth, as well as other goods. Today the former sales hall is used for organizing events, exhibitions and trade fairs. In its present form, the 83 metres high belfry is made up of 3 buildings. The bottom 2 square sections in brick were built during the 13th century. The top, octagonal lantern tower in Brabant limestone was built between 1482 and 1486.
Belfries are typically found in Flanders, Noerthern France and in Parts of Wallonia, in the south of Belgium. UNESCO recognised the exceptional universal value of belfries in 1999 by including 32 Flemish and walloon belfries on its world heritage list. In 2005 the belfry of Gembloux in Wallonia and 23 belfries in Northern France were also added. With its recognition UNESCO wishes to mainly draw attention to the symbolic significance of the belfries as testimonials of the prosperous and autonomous late-medieval cities in this region
Bruges Belfry is the most well known symbol of Bruges. It is located in the market or Markt where also you can find the colorful row of houses, a skiing platform, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and you can rent a horse carriage.Christmas would be wonderful I guess as they will have Christmas Bazaar on this area.
The problem when visiting during fall or winter season which is a “low season” the shops close early. When I arrived in this place almost 5pm, all market vendors are already packed up. The advantage if traveling low season, it is cheaper.
If you like to walk further, then try to see this St. Janshuismolen Windmill. It is a small park with windmills on it. Also a nice place to walk, do some exercise. I have seen people cycling, jogging and some just sitting reading books.
This small town, flocking of tourist even on low season says a lot on how beautiful the place is. The best place for me to take picture aside from the Minnewater Park is Rozenhoedkaai.
The Rozenhoedkaai and the houses with its canals, waterways makes the town really charming. Rozenhoedkaai is the most photographed area in Bruges that has been featured in most magazines.
More pictures of Bruges. Take a look:
If you love historical places and photography, consider this place. You can visit the whole town in one day but make it 2-3 days stay and don’t be in a rush. You can take a bus going to the train station for 1.70 to 2 euros and will take you in 10 minutes. Some people walk from the train station to the town. Taxi will cost you 10-15 euros.
Enjoy your visit in Bruges and don’t forget the Belgian chocolates and waffles.