After an eventful and forgettable train short journey from Brussels to Brugge where the fist class ticket did not account for much on an over filled train that was taking half of Brussels to the beach on a beautiful summer Sunday we arrived in Brugge in one stressed piece. Lesson learned never take train trip with a full set of luggage in Europe on a weekend that is heading to the beach! Despite being dropped off in the wrong spot we were just a short haul to our fabulous apartment in B&B Ambrogio which was located right on the fabulous Spiegelrei canal in the heart of Brugge. Our hosts were delightful as was a the stunning room and Chanda looked after us so well it is no wonder the place is so highly rated.
Our first venture out was down along the canal to the local square where the amazing Whale sculpture made from plastic waste found floating in the Pacific Ocean which highlights the serious problems that our society has created but is not taking responsibility for.
We then enjoyed lunch before venturing into the main square Markt Place with the massive Belfry of Brugge and the original town hall buildings which are now mainly tourist haunts and restaurants. the Square is very significant and was once the major trading square of Western Europe in the 17th century.
The classic Flanders style roof designs feature all over town but in Markt Place they really shine.
We discovered the stunning Church of Our Lady with its beautiful Madonna Di Michelangelo and the grounds of the Saint John Hospital before taking in some of the Water Sculptures and then the sights with a canal tour.
The canal tour took us along all the major routes and the little nooks and crannies that intersect the major canals had the most interest.
When in Brugge you have to sample the Brew so we dropped into the Beer museum at the 2be Bar Mood and had a very interesting cider or citrus style beer that will probably the first and last time.
After an afternoon nap we decided against dinner and instead went for a lovely long stroll through the back streets and the Augustijnenrei canal taking in a quieter side of the Brugge lifestyle where life goes ons as normal despite the bubbub of the main Squares and canals.
The delightful canal side houses and the old housing for the poor along with the Grand Palaces and shops gave a real different perspective.
As Brugge is totally flat it is very easy to manoeuvre so the next day was set to be a big adventure so we set off early after a lovely breakfast and headed to the Adornesdomein which as the home and church of who was Brugge connection to the court of Scotland where the wool trade was so critical and it was from here that the whole connection to the reformation took hold . The chapel was a sight to see with its soaring belfry and original features where time has stood still for 400 years.
The adjacent museum has a fabulous exhibition from two sisters who’s art and sculpture complemented each other.
We continued through to the outer canals where the defensive walls once were and saw the windmills and then back into the main part of town where we had a fantastic meal as a restaurant Chandra recommended called Rock-Fort that delivered a great twist on Asian Euro fusion.
Our trail then led to Saint Magdalena church that is now used for both services and as an art gallery so a really interactive space that many more people can enjoy.
We then found the most beautiful of the Almshouses Godshuis, Sint-Jozef with it’s lovely white gables and internal garden square in full bloom.
We kept going and discovered the beautiful Minnewater or “Lovers Lake”and its surrounding delights near the University which is a real gem of Brugge.
We then continued to the mysterious and serene Beguinage Begijnhof which is still used today as a convent and woman’s refuge.
This city really has so much to offer at every turn and its whimsical elements bring many a smile.
Back into the tourist zone and after a nice relaxed time in a lovely waffle shop garden where we partook in the classic Belgian waffle fare.
We visted the massive Saint Salvator Cathedral. Wow what a sight with it’s amazing details and vast tower and the restoration of the original frescos is revealing some amazing artwork styles.
Our last day in Brugge was wet and a bit colder so we took it slowly and then rugged up and went forth into town and visited the old City Hall with its amazing timber vaulted ceilings and history of law and intrigue before settling on a nice Thai restaurant for lunch for a change which was very nice indeed.
Walking the streets of Brugge you realise how successful a trading city this was in its day and how proud the citizens were of the homes they created.
Next stop was the Lace Museum and the old Alms house which is nearby that is now a museum of history depicting life in the 1880s with a special feature of life in the 1950s in an upstairs attic.
Back to the B&B for a well deserved rest before wandering around to find a bar to watch the football and ending up finding a kebab joint to watch the World Cup Final between France and Belgium and then an early night as the weather had got wet and cold. We had a fantastic time in Brugge and would highly recommend at least two to three nights to experience all it has to offer.