Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is called : 'the Venice of the North'. This splendid medieval city is one of Belgium's crown jewels. In no other European city the feel and the look of medieval times are so present as here in this city close to the North Sea.

Today's Bruges has a population of about 45.000 people (the old center) or 120.000 people (center together with the suburbs). These numbers clearly show that Bruges is not a tiny miniature city. It ranks, even today, among the important cities of Belgium.

It is also the capital of the Belgian province of West-Flanders. A lot of people take day-trips from Brussels to Bruges, but there is too much to see here to fill only one day. The best way to visit Bruges is to spend at least one night in one of the many beautiful and cozy hotels. Later in the evening, when all the tourists have gone, Bruges finds back its charm and quiet of old times.

When one is lucky with the weather, a stroll through the tiny medieval streets can be an enchanting experience. Bruges is always beautiful, in the summertime as well as in the wintertime. Lucky visitors will never forget the city after they have seen it on a snowy December or January day.

Bruges is unique, in the sense that here the town authorities have done the utmost to preserve the medieval-looking image of the city. Of course, not every stone in Bruges has come to us straight from the Middle-Ages. The 19th century neo-gothic style is more present than one should think. Because of these 19th century renovations, some critics have put Bruges down as a 'fake' medieval city. Nevertheless, the combination of old, not so old and new fascinates everyone who first sets foot in Bruges.

It was an overcast day when we visited this beautiful town, but that didn't detract from our enjoyment of the canals, buildings, waffles and strawberries, chocolate, lace, and countless photo opportunities. Here are a few.

Lovely cobbled streets

Horse drawn carriages waiting to take tourists through the streets and down the alleyways, and drivers with an endless source of historical details and rich anecdotes.

Many old bridges span the canals.

'The Lake of Love' - deemed the most beautiful lake in Belgium (maybe Europe?) - with special significance for the family.

Taking a breather - both horse and tourist.

Surely everyone in Belgium most own a bicycle.

"Anyone for chocolate.....

....... or some beautiful Belgian lace?"


Marlene Depler said...

I have been several place in Europe, but never to Belgium. Thanks for taking me on a photo tour of Bruges. Looks like a place I would enjoy. Nice photograpy! The red restaurant is charming!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I think I have said that before but oh well. Wonderful photos and what a beautiful city. I love the architecture, the canals. Adding Belgium to my list of must see places.

diane said...

What a beautiful town. let me loose in the chocolate shop. Lovely family shots too.

Michelle said...

Waffles ..where are the photos of the Waffles??

Alice said...

Michelle, you know how delicious those waffles could I waste time taking photos of them?

Kerri said...

So many sights to see! What a wonderful city! I'm loving this armchair travel :)
That Lake of Love shot is gorgeous. Ah yes, I remember the special significance :)
Those canals are so pretty,and the buildings are magnificent.
Love seeing you all enjoying this beautiful place.
The close up of Russ and the tiny tot is so sweet...oh, and there she is, in good company with Grandma and Grandpa. Lovely shot of the little family on the steps too with Evelynne sitting on Shannon's knee.