To reach Bruges, we flew to London, then to Brussels, and then took a train to Bruge. The train was so smooth that Wendy could work on the blog as we traveled.
Our apartment in Bruges was up on the first floor in an old building that had been renovated. The high ceilings and ornate furniture gave it an elegant feel.
We were on a street in the centre of town, just down the block from the Market Square. Here’s a view of the street in the early morning, before the tour buses arrived. The second one is taken later in the day, looking the other direction. You can see The Belfry above. The market square is just beyond it.
This is a view of the canal closest to our apartment, taken in the evening. The next morning, we took a canal tour in one of the boats that you can see peeking out under the tree. We had a beer on the patio that you can see in this picture on our last day in Bruges.
The first full day in Bruges started with a canal tour. Doug was lucky enough to score a seat right in the front of the boat. There’s another view of the Belfry on the second photo.
Here’s the Minnewater bridge and a view of the swans in Minnewater Park.
There are modern art installations throughout Bruges. The theme is Liquid City: how flexible, liquid and resilient can a historic city like Bruges be? The Blue Whale was made from plastics apparently retrieved from the sea as a reminder to everyone to use less plastic. The first photo was taken from our canal tour, the second on our own walk on our last day in Bruges.
After the canal trip, we headed over to the Belfry. Three hundred sixty six steps later, we were at the top. Here’s the view of the Market Square below. You can see some of the bells in the second photo. The bells sound every quarter hour, so we were at the top to see and hear the bells ring and also at the level below to see the mechanism in action.
Then another walk around town…
… that ended at “The Beer Wall,” that had a display of beer bottles and glasses, all made in Belgium. The seating was covered but open air. Notice the unique sign designating the toilets just above Doug’s head in the third photo.
So far we were making it through the “tick” list: canal ride, swans, the Belfry and Belgian beer. Now for the waffles. The window of the House of Waffles was just next door to our apartment, so we picked up our order and went upstairs to eat them. The second photo is Joanne with her Double Chocolate Supreme waffle.
After that decadent “lunch,” Doug, Bill and Joanne went downstairs to the Torture Museum. Yes, you read that right, our apartment was two floors up from the museum. Here’s Bill posing with their “tourist attractor.”
Wendy went on her own walking tour. Here’s a view with a canal boat just like the one we were on, and some views of the amazing architecture (and more canals).
Wendy got a good view of Saint Anne’s Church, with its 1624 Baroque edifice. The next day, we all walked by it.
Next: brewery tour! Joanne had booked our tickets to De Halve Maan (The Half Moon) back in April. Here are a couple of pictures from the tour and one of us enjoying the included beer at the end.
And our day wasn’t finished yet! Our tick list so far: canal ride, swans, the Belfry, Belgian beer, fresh waffles, brewery tour. The only thing missing was a meal of mussels and fries. Doug and Bill dealt with that one. The other photo is of the meal that Joanne and Wendy had: white asparagus and smoked Atlantic salmon.
Wednesday is market day and we were lucky enough to be there. You can just see a portion of the central monument behind the striped umbrellas, if you want to contrast it with the almost empty Market Square photo earlier in the post taken from the top of the Belfry. We bought our lunch there and ate it on a nearby bench.
Later that day, we were able to check in to our barge, “The Magnifique II.” Our boat and barge tour from Bruges to Amsterdam is the topic of our next blog.