When I was here in January 2009, Stijn had told me about Brugge and how many consider it the "Venice of the North". So because of the numerous canals that intersect throughout this coastal medieval city, this is of course someplace I must see!
After our walk in Oostende this morning (Nov 1) we take the 30 minute drive to Brugge. I'm going to pass on to you a little piece of information you might want to consider when you come to see Brugge. Parking can be next to impossible in the old center, so with the advice of Stijn's father, we parked at the train station, then walked over to the cashier and showed her our parking ticket, she then handed us two free round trip bus tickets. What's great about this is that not only do you not have to fight for a parking space, but the bus makes several stops within the old center.
We choose to start our day by getting off of the bus in the Grote Markt (Market Square). Here is where I am immediately in mouth dropping awe of the fantastic architecture, the cobbled streets, the horse drawn carriages.....Oh My Gosh! The picture you see above is the "Belfry Tower and Cloth Hall" which dominates this square.
As we make our way to find where we can get on one of the many boat rides through the canals, we walk into yet another square "The Burg" the heart of the administrative Bruges. In this square is the magnificent Town Hall.
And directly to the left is the "Civil Registry"
Regarding the weather, nothing much has changed since our walk this morning in Oostende, except for the fact that the grey skies are getting darker and a light rain is beginning to fall. We MUST find those canal rides! But you know me, I have to keep stopping and taking pictures. This of course allows time for more rain to fall. So we decide to take a look in several shops. The one I enjoyed the most, and I think most of you would too, was the store, 2be. This was a great shop full of the most extensive collection of Belgian beers I have ever seen. This shop had several different rooms with beer bottles stacked from floor to ceiling. We even took a peek at the beers located downstairs in the cellar. Of course there were lots of other items, like cookies, candies, and gifts. Adjoining 2be was a cute little terrace where you could sit and have a bite to eat along with your choice of beer overlooking one of the many canals. For us though, it's a bit too rainy now, so we opt for some indoor dining.
We make our way through the cobbled streets, ducking under canopies to try and stay dry, in search of the perfect place to have lunch. And then there it is! "Curiosa".
A small narrow staircase leads us down to a heavy timbered door where you enter into a small room filled with wooden tables and chairs set beneath a plaster and brick arch ceiling. Tucked to one side is a beautiful bar wrapped in old brick.
We ordered something nice and hot to help warm us up after walking a few hours out in the cold and rain. For me, I had this great seafood casserole called "Gratinated Fishpot" and Stijn ordered up a grilled filet steak with mixed vegetables and the standard side dish of fries. And of course we complimented our meals with a great Belgian beer.
After lunch we headed back out in the rain and continued walking through the cobblestone streets of Brugge. But first, right across the street is this wonderful Belgian chocolate shop!
Since I've been coming to Belgium, I have had my fair share of Belgian chocolate, so Stijn introduces me to a popular candy with the Belgian's....Cuberdons or as the Belgians affectionately call them, neuseke (small nose)! These are a great cone shaped candy about 1 inch tall, that come in many flavors and are filled with a sugary jelly like filling. We chose the purple ones that tasted like grapes.
We've decided that today was just not the day to take a boat ride through the canals of Brugge. There are really so many beautiful sights to see in Brugge that missing out on a canal ride didn't really disappointment me at all. Besides, while walking I could take my time and peer in the windows of shops, take pictures along the canals of the great little wooden houses and walk over a few of the many bridges that cross over the canals. When we came upon the "Bonifacius Bridge" that is situated between Gruuthuse and Arentshof, it was definitely a Kodak moment.
As we crossed over the bridge, Stijn had me look up to see what is said to be the "Smallest Window" in Brugge.
Brugge really has so much more to see and do, but I think it's time to come in from the rain. What do you think?
If you would like to see more pictures of our day in Brugge, just go to "Where's Debbie" and click on the album "Brugge"