The Top 10 Things I Loved About Bruges*

02Jan14

We were sad to leave Bruges this morning. I have so many little stories to share (like watching the movie In Bruges last night … in Bruges). But because I’m on a bouncy train — and because I don’t have time to construct a cohesive narrative — here’s a loosely structured list of The Top 10 Things I Loved About Bruges* (*In No Particular Order).

Thing #1: Our tiny rented house. I loved the fact that it consisted basically of three rooms, stacked on top of each other.

Bruges apt upstairs 1020138 BLOG

Bruges apartment 1020116 BLOG

Never mind that the stairs required someone reliable on belay: Totally. Worth. It.

Bruges apt stairs 1020146 BLOG

Thing #2: Some parts of our neighborhood reminded me of Ireland. Call me silly, but I felt like I was getting two trips in one. Our house appears in the second photo below, by the way — look for the ivy on the front.

Bruges ireland 1010768 BLOG

Bruges Peperstraat 1020011 BLOG

Thing #3: But in most neighborhoods, there was no doubt we were in Flanders. I loved the architecture, because it was so … well, unfamiliar.

Bruges archit 1010369 BLOG

Bruges deets 1010759 BLOG

Bruges archit 1010370 BLOG

Thing #4: The tiny-but-stunning architectural details. Many of the houses in Bruges are charmingly weather-worn or beautifully decorated. Sometimes both.

Bruges deet 1010373 BLOG

Bruges deet 1010965 BLOG

Bruges deet roof 1010420 BLOG

Bruges tower deet 1010890 BLOG

Bruges deet roofs 1010422 BLOG

Bruges deets 1010293 BLOG

Bruges deets 1010390 BLOG

Bruges deets 1010755 BLOG

Bruges deets 1010955 BLOG

Bruges doorway 1010942 BLOG

Thing #5: Happening upon historic landmarks. I’d read somewhere that Bruges was an alternative stop on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This little shell in the pavement told me I’d stumbled upon the old path.

Bruges Santiago 1020056 BLOG

Thing #6: Spotting Bruges’ ancient crest. It’s a gothic “b” sporting a crown, topped with a forked ascender. Notice it just once, and soon you’ll see it’s everywhere.

Bruges shield 1020050 BLOG

Bruges lights 1020038 BLOG

Bruges crest 1010753 BLOG

Thing #7: The Christmas market. It was in full swing — both day and night — in front of City Hall.

Bruges skating rink 1010338 BLOG

Bruges xmas market 1010387 BLOG

Bruges market 1010345 BLOG

Bruges market 1010346 BLOG

Bruges Weihacntmkt 1010905 BLOG

Bruges platz 1010598 BLOG

Bruges Weinachstmarkt 1010632 BLOG

Thing #8: Strolling along the canals. Enough said.

Bruges boat 1020075 BLOG

Bruges bridge 010297 BLOG

Bruges canal 1010391 BLOG

Bruges canal 1010789 BLOG

Bruges canal 1010803 BLOG

Thing #9: The holiday lights. Wreaths and illuminated garlands span almost every major street in Bruges. The effect really did evoke the “winter wonderland” of song.

Bruges xmas lights 1010384 BLOG

Bruges xmas lights 1010512 BLOG

Bruges xmas lights 1010912 BLOG

Bruges xmas lights 1010943 BLOG

Thing #10: Seeing my first-ever windmill. There are actually four of these along the river in Bruges, each with a distinct “personality.” One had no fencing, so I braved the climb for a view from the top. (No photos from the summit, though — I didn’t have the guts to let go of the railing.)

Bruges windmill 3 1020088 BLOG

Bruges windmill 1010440 BLOG

Bruges windmill 1010456 BLOG

Bruges windmill 1020090 BLOG

Bruges windmmill 1010484 BLOG

Bruges windmill steps 1010478 BLOG

And on that note, I bid a fond farewell to Bruges.

Cologne is up next — but first, a very special Paris detour. Back tomorrow!



15 Responses to “The Top 10 Things I Loved About Bruges*”

  1. I love Bruges! I went 2 summers ago & would love to go back in the winter!

    • 2 hmunro

      I highly recommend going in the winter! The light is lovely, and the Christmas markets are great fun. Hope you can make it back soon.

  2. What a treat. I visited Bruges just for a long weekend a few years ago, but had forgotten just how *ridiculously* picturesque it is. Every townscape looks like a Breughel. I adore those gingerbread-like crenellated rooftops.

    • 4 hmunro

      “Ridiculously picturesque” is a wonderful description, DB: I feared I would wear out my camera before we even got to the second city on our grand tour! I hope you’re able to go back someday, as do I. It’s as relaxing as Venice, but with considerably less risk of absentmindedly falling into a canal. Ha, ha.

  3. I love Bruges, too! Took some lovely photos there this summer, and wish I would have had more than 2 days to explore all the little streets.

    • 6 hmunro

      Lovely photos, Lutz! I wish you’d had more time to explore all the little streets, too; each seems to have its own personality. But — as your newest subscriber — I very much hope you’ll treat us to just a few more pictures from your two days there? Thanks very much for stopping by, and happy travels!

  4. Looks like a lovely place! I could go for a canal stroll or two.

    • 8 hmunro

      Well … why not? It’s only three hours from Paris by TGV. Grin.

  5. lovely photos! great impressions from Bruges. Funny that you’d never seen a windmill before (bc it is such a familiar sight here!)

    • 10 hmunro

      I’m very honored that a resident of Bruges should like my photos! And your thought about the windmills perfectly sums up why I love to travel: It’s marvelous to discover new versions of what constitutes “familiar.” You are lucky to live in such a beautiful city. Thank you very much for your kind comment!

  6. I love Bruges but have forgotten just how wonderful and and picturesque it is. We went for a day trip once a looong time ago from London. Loved the house you stayed in!

    • 12 hmunro

      If ever you decide to go back, please drop me a note so I can put you in touch with the owner of that charming house. Bruges is indeed wonderful and picturesque, but that house pushed our experience right over the edge and into “fairy-tale-like.”

  7. I visited Bruges over the day when I was in Brussels a couple of weeks ago. It is such a lovely little town. And so many chocolate shops ❤

    • 14 hmunro

      How lucky for you! I remember the chocolate shops vividly — but in my case, because I’m not supposed to eat much candy, so it took every bit of willpower I had to try to ignore them as I walked past. They really were *everywhere.* Hope you had a wonderful time.

      • That sounds difficult! On the other hand, I left with the feeling of havin over eaten chocolate, even though I barely had any at all. The smell itself is almost enough!


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