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Published: September 9th 2010
Walking through the Smedenpoort gate into the old city of Brugges and turning around, you get to view how defensive walls were made in the Middle Ages with two canals and two sand walls. With closer inspection on the gate a bronze skull is hanging from this which is a copy of one poor chap who was a traitor in 1688.
This is an idea of what to expect in the city which seems more like an outdoor museum. It is little wonder why this place is Belgium’s main tourist draw card and the city makes the most of this as you will be sure to hear the trotting of horse drawn carriages cruising around the copestone streets with a constant line of eagerly waiting tourists to have a turn.
Not only are the streets full with action but the canals also are full of tourist boats which seems like an expensive alternative from walking around but of course will give a great alternative to viewing the old town as it was done many years ago.
The two main meeting places would have to be the two squares in the city. Right next to each other Markt square
is the more spectacular of the two although the other has some interesting thing such as Holy Blood which is well have a guess.... The cylinder in which it contains the Holy Blood has been on a crusade in the 12th century all the way Jerusalem and the true believers line up, pay a fee, receive a prayer from the priest and get to rub the cylinder before continuing on.
Yes it is a tourist city but it is very easy to escape the crowds. For one do not turn up on a weekend and it will be halved right away and the old town is big and the crowds are mostly hanging around the two squares and a little more south west so keeping away from those places you will find streets for yourself.
A great place for a cheap meal for the backpacker is Medard with 3 Euro pasta meals! Now in a city like this and the restaurant just of the Markt square it is a massive bargain and you will be completely stuffed by the end of it, see photos for the meal. Beer, need to go down the smallest alley way in Brugges
(the road between the two squares you will see on the right side going from the big to the small) is a pub called De Garre but do not be surprised to see this cute small pub packed with everyone waiting to try the Garre which is a heavy tasting beer and the only place to get it here. Oh and it is very potent with I think with 11-13% so they only allow each person to have three each. It is impossible to get more even when trying to trick the waiters when having someone who doesn’t drink beer, they are switched on
So after a belly full of these back in the main square is a perfect spot to get a quick fix of food and the French fries debate rages on here like know where else. It is quite funny to see though but when looking at the main large bell tower, in front of this there are two chip vans side by side both seeling the ‘best fries in Belgium’. We tried the ones on the left hand side since it had a line and also we were told by friends that the people in
the right are from Turkey or somewhere so how could they make the best French fries.
A must map of this city is the ‘Use-It’ map of Brugges. We are not to sure if you can pick these up in the tourist office there but in Brussels’ you will be able to get for sure at the Use It tourist office (not the main tourist office). Make sure to get these maps which are for a few cities over Belgium as they are more helpful than our Lonely Planet.
Well this is a wonderful city and one full day is no way close enough to have a good look around. This is a city which is best suited when not using a map and just walking around getting lost. Never will you will get bored with the alleyways, hidden pubs and cafes in Brugges.
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