Bruges: Another weekend in Belgium!
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It's been a while since I fell in love with Bruges' friend Basil's photos. I asked him to give me some of them to use in a new travel story. The original idea was to write about an all-weather city that is worth a visit in both winter and summer. Finally, I decided to handle the material differently and to share my first time with you in Belgium.
Back in 2012, end of spring semester in London, little money and unlimited time. Why not dare a trip? My good company and my stay were guaranteed, all I needed was to find cheap tickets to Belgium. I didn't think much of it, it would go by car, 50 Euros would go with Eurolines and I would be in Brussels in about 5 hours.
With my little sack on my shoulder, I felt like I was running away from home, as a sweet old lady told me on the bus to Victoria, the international train station. Passport control, boarding and complete ignorance of danger. Until now, I had just crossed the Channel once more painlessly with Eurostar.
* Don't be fooled by the cheap night bus tickets from Brussels to London. In the evening the Channel (Channel) closes and you will have to cross the ferry boat. This trip takes at least 8 hours.
No, there is no undersea tunnel for cars, but a carriage train. The bus stopped before the Channel and we waited our turn to load on a "truck". As surreal as it sounds, we were in a huge container, little light and no escape, right-to-left. The ideal setting for a claustrophobic.
And while I was thinking that if you don't have enough money, it's a good idea not to travel, we arrived in Calais. What more could I expect? But, of course, the police dogs smell me ... You see, illegal immigration to the UK has been and remains a blow. Little harm, from there I would be in Brussels for almost 2 hours.
So much so that I decided to spend the few euros left in my wallet (in London we had pounds) for a Belgian waffle, the authentic icing with sugar. This little waste in the process would prove to be critical, as once I tried to cash out the machine, I found that my card wasn't working. Any euro from then on would be valuable to me!
My friends, besides their company and their generous stay, had to lend me some cash. Fortunately, both they and I didn't get hurt. Ride to Brussels by night and train the next day to neighboring cities. With a 15 euro ticket (multiple destinations and a special weekend getaway) we would visit Ghent, Bruges and end up in Leuven.
Extremely ambitious plan for a day, since we never arrived in Leuven. A few kwaks (beer) on a Bruges canal and the time went well. We would go next time ...
Bruges is one of the most well-preserved medieval settlements in the world, completely protected by UNESCO. The city is just over an hour from Brussels if you use the train, and tickets are cheaper on weekends than on weekdays.
The tour of the historic center starts from the central square, the market called Burg. Around the huge shimmering slab, a series of buildings lined with medieval architecture, elaborate sculpture and golden details.
In a prominent position is Belfry, the large bell tower with its 366 steps leading you to a magnificent panoramic view, behind the dozens of 18th-century bells that still sound today.
In the same square is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which according to legend, holds drops of Jesus' blood, brought by a pilgrim who was present at the Crucifixion.
The market is spread on the alleys that start from the square and host the thousands of tourists who stroll through the shops with pastries, waffles, french fries and traditional products of the area. For some here the whole essence of Bruges is compressed.
After the walk in the market, the series has a walk in the canals. The central canal is on the Groenerei Plateau. It sounds touristy, but don't be afraid. Get on one of the boats (the ticket does not cost more than 7 €) and you will have the chance to see the most interesting neighborhoods in the city.
South of Burg Square is the tower of the Church of the Virgin Mary. It is an imposing red brick building, the tallest of its kind in Europe, which houses Michael Angelo's only sculpture outside Italy. This is the famous "Virgin and Divine Infant", but you have to pay a separate entrance to see it up close.
Very close is an interesting cluster of museums, the Groeninge and the Hospital Museum, with works by Picasso, as well as Jan Van Eyck and Hans Memling, the most famous Flemish artists born there.
In the southernmost part of the historic center, always walking, you'll reach Minnewater, with swans and golden-red trees bending over the water. A backdrop that will claim many megabytes of memory from your electronic devices.
To the east of downtown, quieter and bohemian, the neighborhood of Agia Anna hides beautiful churches and streets with quiet bistro and pubs, while at its edge, where the old walls of Bruges stand, there are windmills.