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Thursday, August 25, 2011


Continuing on with the story of our European adventure... after discovering Düsseldorf and eating our way through Chimay, the husband and I made our way to Brugge, Belgium.


Maybe the prettiest city ever.  Legend has it that Brugge was spared the drab-ification of the Industrial Revolution thanks to the thriving lace-making industry in the area.  Or that's what I was told when I first traveled there in 2003.  On this trip I learned that the city's history is not so simplistic.  Brugge at one point was supposedly the commercial centre of the world, has a history of attracting great European artists, and was once actually a port city (silt deposits now place it a-ways inland).  These days it seems to have a reputation in Europe for being a big tourist trap.  But, like all good cliches, Brugge's reputation is rooted in truth - it's a great spot to visit!

Markt in day

We spent hours on end traipsing over the cobblestoned streets in the historic (UNESCO-historic) city centre.  The streets circle around the Markt and run parallel with the many canals of the city (hence the alias "Venice of the North").    We found tiny cafes, funny little homes, and some hole-in-the-wall-ground beer cafes.


Our lodgings were lovely to look at, though a bit damp in person (I guess that was to be expected in the bargain lodgings of "Venice of the North").

Passages Bruges

The food was excellent.  For an example, see our moules-et-frites, below.  On a few occasions we hit up the grocery stores for picnic fare and lunched near the windmills on the perimeter of the city.  Simple and romantic - fitting for our honeymoon.  We also ate delicious Belgian waffles but they didn't come close to lasting long enough to be photographed.  Luckily, they're safely stored away in my food memory.

Moules et Frites


I can't not mention the beer.  Belgium has so many beer styles, some only to be found in that country.  There's not really beer there - except the odd import - that would really be recognizable as beer to the Canadian mass market.  Many Belgian styles are sweet and/or have a high alcohol content, but really the styles run the gamut.  To generalize, it's the kind of beer you savour and relish.  You won't see a Belgian chugging.  You don't buy a 2-4 in Brugge.  In short, Belgian beer is an art form.  When's the last time you went to a Canadian pub, asked for the house beer and got this:

Beer, the Belgian way

Served on it's own tray, in it's own glass, on a doily, with a side of specially selected local cheese.  Belgian beer.  That's what I'm talking about.

To me, Brugge is a wonderfully rich city and well worth a visit.  I've been there twice and I'd love to go again.

Markt at night

The next European stop will be in the Czech Republic.  So stay tuned...


Tidyowl said...Best Blogger Tips

Your room had lots of character and that first picture is beautiful. I'll have to add "Brugge in spring" to my travel want list.

Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

great to see though your eyes !

Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

is your computer on NL time, only 6:08 am here ?

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