My summer trip to Bruges (Brugge) - Belgium

lion200
lion200 @lion200
· August 2019 · 8 min read · Belgium · #photography

Instead going for a long continuous vacation to one place, this year we are doing short visits to various places.

We were looking for a two days off with my wife, without the kids (thanks mom :)). After browsing a bit we chose to go to Bruges in Belgium which is 2 hrs drive from where we live in The Netherlands.

We didn’t know anything about Bruges, so it was a bit of a gamble. Our selection criteria were the price and the distance of the hotel to city center. Join the journey below to find out about what Bruges has to offer...

In one of the reviews someone was mentioning about parking at a station cheaply instead of using the parking of hotel. That’s what we did too. We parked our car at “Brugge Centrum - Station” for 3,50 euro for 24 hrs with bus ticket to the city center (and return) included! Cleverly done to keep cars out of the city center. I always take a picture of where I parked my car to prevent an endless search :))

Car parked in line B.23
Car parked in line B.23

We went with the bus to a station nearby our hotel to quickly check-in and discover the city. After checking in we went out...

From first looks, Bruges reminded me of Amsterdam where the houses are alike. Old, historical and with very different architectural styles next to each other. I like this variety in different architectural styles. And also Bruges has canals like Amsterdam. Look at the beautiful old architectural styles...

We are walking towards the city center and while walking we are amazed with the beauty of the city...

Statue of Jan van Eyck
Statue of Jan van Eyck

The statue above is a statue of Jan van Eyck, a famous Flemish painter who lived in Bruges around year 1429. He is one of the innovators of Early Netherlandish painting and was highly influential among the painters back then. 

We didn’t know that Bruges was a touristic city :) look at the crowd. We were also lucky with the weather.

Approaching city center with Belfry of Bruges
Approaching city center with Belfry of Bruges

The tower you see behind is the Belfry of Bruges, a bell tower in the center of Bruges. This is one of the iconic buildings of Bruges. We will approach it shortly.

Besides these nice old buildings and history, Bruges apparently is also very famous with the Belgian Chocolate. After each 3-4 shops in the street, there is a chocolate shop like. We are talking about more than 30 chocolate stores in the same area :)

One of the many chocolate shops in Bruges
One of the many chocolate shops in Bruges

Choco-Story Bruges

Before continuing with to the city, we saw in the corner a small entry with the following name on the door: "Choco-Story Bruges".

Entrance of Choco-Story Bruges.I don't know why this guy was posing like this, but it sure is very funny :)
Entrance of Choco-Story Bruges.I don't know why this guy was posing like this, but it sure is very funny :)

Apparently this was a chocolate museum where you can see the whole journey of the cacao until now. Because there are a lot of photo's I took in this museum, I will publish this in a separate post to keep this post at reasonable size. Still, here are a couple of photo's from the Choco-Story Bruges.

Cacao was discovered in -3500! Isn't this shocking!
Cacao was discovered in -3500! Isn't this shocking!

Just a small demonstration of various chocolate shapes.
Just a small demonstration of various chocolate shapes.

City Center

We are walking towards the city center... 

Finally we reached the city center of Bruges. It is a big square with a lot of people. Many tourists are here to see the city and the history of this city by visiting various museums available here.

The area is surrounded by beautiful buildings with the same characteristic architectural style. Very beautiful! In front of these buildings, you can find places where you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner as well as a drink to enjoy the view.

After quickly checking in, and walking to the city, we got hungry. It was between lunch and dinner, so the famous french fries of Belgium was a good idea :)

Belfry of Bruges

So, like mentioned above, the Belfry of Bruges in the city center, is a bell tower built around 1240. Back then it didn't have the current height. The upper stage is added around 1487. 

This building was housing a treasury and archives. But also served as a post for looking out for danger. The total height of this building is 83 meters.

The Belfry of Bruges
The Belfry of Bruges

During our first day we kept walking to see what Bruges had to offer. Some people preferred a tour by horse cart instead of walking. 

After following the crowd we arrived at this area where we saw a statue of Simon Stevin. Simon Stevin was a flemish mathematician, physicist and engineer. He made a lot of inventions around years 1600 and contributed to the science and engineering discoveries during his time. 

In this square, there were also street musicians playing. I made a short video which you can watch below. 

We called it a day after a couple of hours of walking. Going back to our hotel, we were looking around to admire the historical beauty of this city.

We closed the first day with dinner. We found a nice Italian restaurant called Carlito's close to our hotel. The pasta penne with salmon was delicious!

Carlito's pasta penne salmon
Carlito's pasta penne salmon

In day 2 we walked a bit further than where we left off in day 1. The impressive building you see below belongs to the Bruges City Hall. This is one of the oldest city hall in the entire Netherlands region. After a fire in Belfry in 1280 this place became the meeting place for the city council.

Bruges City Hall
Bruges City Hall

Bruges City Hall
Bruges City Hall

We walked through the passage here, to see what was behind this massive building. 

Fish market Bruges

Behind Bruges City Hall, there was this famous "Vismarkt" Fish market of Bruges. In this small market they were selling paintings, toys, gifts and of course fish!

Canal boat tour

Next to the fish market, we saw the entrance of the canal boat tours. We were already wondering how we could take a boat tour, but we thought in the end we would find out. And here it is... The total tour took approximately half an hour, from which I filmed the first 5 minutes to give you guys a taste of Bruges by boat. Enjoy!

Waffles on a stick! What?!

We skipped a lot of chocolate stores, bought some chocolate boxes as gift, but tried to limit the chocolate eating ourselves. But when we saw this store and looked inside, we though we should give it a try :)

Dark chocolate with coco's!
Dark chocolate with coco's!

St. Salvator's Cathadral

While walking we saw this cathedral from outside. We didn't go inside, but this cathedral apparently is the main church of the city. It is also one of the few buildings which survived the past hundreds of years without major damage. 

Initially this building was a parish church back in the 10th century. Around 1834, after the independence of Belgium, this church received the status of cathedral.

This is how the bells of the cathedral sounds like... 

On our way to the main square of Bruges we saw this entrance, and saw that a lot of people were entering and leaving. This immediately took our attention :) Let's check it out...

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy :)
Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy :)

Oh man that's a lot of alcohol bottles! :)

Historium

Our final stop is on the main city center square, the place called Historium. In this place, the promise is to let you experience the Golden Age of Bruges. 

From the packages above, we chose the Time Traveller which included the Historium story + exhibition + virtual reality. Especially the VR part sounded promising.

Before entrance, you are asked for your preferred language to receive headphones and a device for the story telling. You are moved from room to room with some story telling in the background.

The decoration was impressive. In each room some window, curtains are being opened in the decoration with a small movie being played afterwards. 

The story was about a helper called Jacob of the famous painter Jan van Eyck. He was assigned a task from his master to receive and bring the order items for the next painting from the harbor. The items which were arriving were a bit odd though, a parrot and a very beautiful girl named Anna. The painting the client wanted from Jan van Eyck was going to be from this girl and the parrot. So the journey of Jacob began... with falling in love with Anna...

In one of the final rooms below, we all sat around this table where there was a conversation in the movie. Cleverly done. It felt like we all were part of the conversation.

After the story ended, we are guided to the exhibition floor where we were guided through the early years of Bruges to the current state of Bruges.

The VR part of the tour was pretty awesome. You get VR kit where you get to see the old Bruges with some story telling. It felt awesome. At some certain point you get to fly over old Bruges and land in the current city center at the Historium building. I definitely advise people to take the tour including the VR.

The tour is ended with a balcony view of the city center.

Finally it is time to take a break and end our Bruges journey with a cup of coffee. I hope you enjoyed our trip photo's. In the end we are very positively surprised with the beauty of this city and strongly advise people to visit Bruges.

Thanks for reading!


Topics: PHOTOGRAPHY

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What a quaint city! I would like to visit Bruges one day, now that I've seen your post :D I didn't know much about it before, but seems like it is actually pretty touristy and thriving :D

Gorgeous photos, as well, @lion200 ! <3


lion200
lion200 @lion200August 2019

Thanks a lot @veryspider!
Yeah I didn't know much about this city either before my visit :)


Nice city there! I’m at Amsterdam till tomorrow morning. Similar things and weather here 😉


lion200
lion200 @lion200August 2019

Yeah very beautiful city! As is Amsterdam ;) Enjoy!


gregan
Gregan @greganAugust 2019

Very nice report!


lion200
lion200 @lion200August 2019

Thanks a lot!


gregan
Gregan @greganAugust 2019

There also is a starbucks shop in the station if you'd fancy that 😉😀


lion200
lion200 @lion200August 2019

Haha, we were exhausted when we reached the station at the end of the day :)
The only thought was going home asap! :)


It was a pleasure reading and watching your travel story, we're definitely going there, in 2-3 weeks ;)
Thanks as well for mentioning it in the @travelfeed Discord channel as most probably I wouldn't find this wonderful post otherwise...

!BEER


lion200
lion200 @lion200August 2019

Good call! :) It is a very beautiful city.
You're welcome, and thanks for dropping by!


Oh trips alone as a couple is awesome!! My husband and I try and do that regularly too. It helps that the kids are all grownup now. No more babysitters. ☺️ I've been to the Netherlands 23 years ago. Beautiful place. I'm envious of your proximity to all those lovely places to visit. Thank you for sharing it with us 😊


lion200
lion200 @lion200August 2019

You are welcome! Thanks for dropping by :)
It is indeed awesome to make a trip without kids :P


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lion200
lion200 @lion200August 2019

Thanks a lot @travelfeed and @elsaenroute! I really appreciate your support ;) I'm glad you guys liked my post.


It was an incredible post, keep them coming.