Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Brugge - a living museum

One of the many canals in Bruges
After Deinze, we headed towards Brugge. This lovely town is UNESCO heritage listed and it's easy to see why. The architecture, cobbled streets and peaceful waterways combine to create an ambience conducive to a relaxing holiday or a frantic run around looking at all the sights this town has to offer. We chose the relaxing holiday as we spent two weeks here and could take the time to wander the streets when the tourists had left for the day.
It is fortunate that both Gent and Brugge were spared the devastation that occurred in other parts of Belgium during WWI. While they could have been able to rebuild, as was done in Ieper (Ypres), I'm sure some of the ambience would have been lost.
Scallops with Mushroom Risotto At Pomerlut
During our sojourn in Brugge, Christine and Jim, friends from England came to stay with us for a few days. It was good to walk around with them and see Brugge from the perspective of someone who hadn't visited here before. We also ate at different restaurants, confirming that there's more to the Brugge restaurant scene than moules et frites (mussels and fries). 
Tourists are more catered for here than, in say, Gent. There are so many chocolate shops and hot chocolate is another must have while here. Chocolate overload - you are served hot milk into which you pour molten chocolate and then you get to eat a selection of chocolates with it. 
Some interesting chocolate shapes
Brugge was known for its lacework and tapestries and there are many shops dedicated to the sale of this once local craftwork. These days, however, real handmade lace is prohibitively expensive so you assume that much of the lace available is either machine made or comes from China.
Christmas Shop
The other shop I was surprised to find here was the K├Ąthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop. I had last seen this in Rothenberg ob der Tauber in Germany. There are actually two of these shops in Brugge, one near the town hall and the other in Minnewater. They are a veritable wonderland of Christmas knick knacks and cuckoo clocks.
Fresh food market
Fresh food markets are held in Brugge twice a week. This is in conjunction with the flower market. The fish market is held every morning in, where else but, the old fish market. The smell is kind of offputting as we had been to the fish market in Cadiz with many more suppliers than in Brugge and there wasn't one whiff of fish. In the afternoon the fish market becomes the craft market and occasionally, in the evening, a venue for samba and other dancing demonstrations with spectators encouraged to join in.
Another secluded canal
I suppose the one lasting memory of Brugge is that it is a tourist town which is evidenced by the constant clack clack of suitcase wheels rolling over the cobbles!
Sculpture based on recycled windows
One of the 4 windmills on the Canal circumnavigating Bruges
Hot chocolate
Leisurely ride through the historic streets

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