Why did I end up in Brugge? I didn’t plan to! I’m not kidding! I would definitely have visited sometime and probably will visit again, but this one time – I didn’t plan to! I could go on and on about the woes of traveling with a ‘Third-world’ passport – but I won’t, as you can read about it here. So, cheap flight tickets and the necessity of a visa brought me to Brugge, and I instantly regretted a day trip! That’s because I would have loved to stay longer!
Although Brugge can most definitely ‘be completed’ in a day, that is not why you visit Brugge! You visit Brugge to day-dream of mythical castles, damsels in distress, Rapunzel sitting in a tower looking out of the window…Yes, those are the thoughts that Brugge invokes in you. Sure, it will be all bright and sunny in summer, but we were not lucky to be blessed with such a day! Nevertheless, the mist that hung in the air made the place all the more mystical.
We drifted away from the group we had joined from Brussels and walked through the cobbled narrow alleyways, avoiding horse-drawn carriages when they passed. The quaint shops held artistic tapestry pieces and porcelain figurines. After walking endlessly, we realized we’d built up an appetite and hence proceeded to mark another ‘exotic’ item off our foodie bucket list – Snails!
France would be the top choice, I presume but we were more than happy to have them in Brugge, till we got a chance to step into France! So we headed to de Verbeelding to have Flemish stew and steamed snails! It seemed the restaurant was expecting a horde of guests so we were served quickly. We ended our meal with a generous help of waffles – yet again and then proceeded to walk towards the Basilica of the Blood Jesus.
There’s no dearth of Castles and Churches in Europe, and although I am Catholic, I don’t step into all of them, but this Basilica caught my curiosity. The minor Basilica houses a worshipped relic of the Holy Blood (the Blood of Christ) which was collected by Joseph of Arimathea (the person who donated his tomb for Christ’s burial) and was brought to Brugge by Thierry of Alsace the then, Count of Flanders.
After visiting the Church and offering a short prayer, we then proceeded to do the most ‘touristy’ activity in Brugge – go on a canal cruise. Yes there will be a crowd and it will be noisy – sort of, but Brugge is largely comprised of canals and the back of many buildings end by the canals, which cannot be reached by foot. The best manner to experience this un-wordly beauty – is to ensure you take a canal cruise! The guide was chatty, funny and I loved his narration. He also introduced us to the most famous actor in town – ‘Fidel’.
Check out another travelogue through the city of Bruges by Liz
Fidel’s claim to fame – landing a cameo in the movie ‘In Bruges’. You’ll probably be wondering why would that get him so famous? Well, because he’s one of the most adorable dogs ever- who always takes a nap by the window of the Côté Canal at Groenerei (Green Canal)!
The cruise lasted 30 minutes – it was over even before I had settled in my reverie, but it was completely worth it!
We then continued our walk and headed to:
- Begijnhof (Beguinage) – A secluded place full of white-washed houses surrounding a large garden full of daffodils, which was built for the beguines – who vowed to remain celibate, without taking religious vows. We spent a few moments here in contemplation before a group of tourists came in, so we then continued to walk to….
- The Markt – Dominated by the Belfry, the markt, is the hub of activity in Brugge. We got some chocolates from Godiva, finished them in a jiffy and then continued to admire the square lined with typically Flemish eateries, with seats under colorful awnings. The day was almost nearing an end and I didn’t want it to! So I pitter-pattered for some distance till I reached….
- Minnewater Lake –This picturesque lake is maybe what some scenes from Disney movies are inspired from! A few steps away from the Beguinage, this will definitely be the location that will be the most difficult to pull yourself away from! A huge medieval house sits by the shore of the lake and looks extremely idyllic.
While we bid adieu to Brugge, I knew there were many more places I could have probably visited, but you don’t ‘visit’ Brugge, you consume a feeling called ‘Brugge’ – after all it is a UNESCO World Heritage site!
And well, if you do want a list of places you could ‘visit’ other than the above, that’s what TripAdvisor is for, isn’t it? 😉
- The currency is Euro and the country lie sin the Schengen zone
- The closest airport is Brussels, Charleroi (Brussels South), and Lille
- It takes about 2 hours to reach Brugge via Ghent from Brussels
- You can use Voyages – sncf to make train reservations. It take about 50 mins by train.
- Lace, tapestry and beer are some artifacts you could get back!
Our Guest Author, Lavina uses all her spare time to travel and to blog. She has traveled to 10 countries in the last year itself! An engineer by profession, journalism was all she cared about till she was told to get a 2nd degree to pursue it! She now funnels all the creative energy clicking pictures and writing and is happy traveling when not working or eating weird food around the world which includes crocodiles and wood worms and reading when nothing’s on the radar! Today she takes over, to give us a glimpse into Brugge and recommend the top things to do in a day! Let us know if you’ve been and if you find it equally dreamy!
Image Credits: A Capricious Compass