The Quieter Side of Bruges

Published: July 7th 2017
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Geo: 51.2094, 3.22523

This morning I set off to follow one of the walking routes in my guidebook called "Strolling through silent Bruges." It was a beautiful 4 km (2.48 mile) walk with many interesting sites along the way. First, I had to go through Market Square. Well, I suppose I could have gone around, but I just love that place! On Wednesdays there is a food and flower market held on the square. There were large trucks lined up in rows with all sorts of goodies. There was a row with meats and cheeses, one with flowers and several with fruits and veggies. Everything looked so good that I decided to buy a snack for later of some fresh strawberries and a sugar waffle.

Snack purchased, I set out on my walk. The walk started at the Chocolate Museum, which I had toured yesterday. From there, the walk took me past Saint Walburga's Church (1619-1642 but it wasn't open yet to go inside) and then to a canal with some great views. There was a stop at Saint Giles' Church which is where many famous painters, including Hans Memling, are buried. Along another canal I walked past a seminary and then stopped at Our Lady of the Pottery. This church dates back to the 13th century and contains a lot of art work and a beautiful interior. It was very quiet and peaceful, which I liked!

The walk followed this quiet canal to another where the area along the canal became a park. This green area is home to the 4 remaining windmills in the area. One of them, Sint-Janshuis Mill, is included in the city card. The mill is perched atop a small hill, which offers great views of the city. A set of very steep stairs takes you up to the interior of the windmill. The guy gave me an English informational flyer and I was then able to climb a few more steps to see the inner mechanisms that are connected to the giant sails outside. There were also pictures of lots of other windmills throughout Belgium. I did not enjoy climbing back down the steps and would not want to do it every day!

Farther along, I stopped to visit the Folklore Museum. The museum is housed in a 17th century row of single room dwellings that have been restored and exhibit different aspects of life. There was a cobbler, a milliner, a pharmacy and several other rooms. An interesting museum that was again covered by my card.

There was the 15th century Jerusalem Chapel which has a rather interesting interior. Apparently some guy named Anselm Adornes went to the Holy Land and decided to build an exact copy of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that he saw there. So I guess that's what this looks like.

More quiet winding streets to the next stop, the Church of Saint Anne. This church is in a quiet square and the guidebook says the interior is one of Bruges' most splendid examples of Baroque architecture. It was pretty impressive!

The walk ends at a cafe that is said to be the oldest in Bruges. There has been a tavern at Cafe Vlissinghe since 1515, but I wasn't in the mood for food so I did not go in. This walk was a great one to take to visit some of the less well-known spots in the city. There were places that were busier (the windmills) but otherwise there were few people. I enjoyed poking around the streets without the guided walking tours and other hordes of people getting in my way.

I wandered back towards the square along some more quiet streets and then back to the noise of Market Square. For lunch I had some frites! It was a nice sunny day so I took the 30 minute canal boat ride. I couldn't hear most of what the guide was saying (and I was sitting right in the front of the boat) but I did enjoy the slightly different perspective of the city from the water. It was relaxing and included with the city card.

Since Belgium is also famous for beer, I took the De Halve Maan Brewery tour (it was part of the card or I wouldn't have paid extra), which is the only remaining brewery in Bruges. The guided tour was about 45 minutes, involved 200+ steps and had a great rooftop view of the city. At the end of the tour you trade in your ticket for a glass of Brugse Zot, the city beer. I am not a fan of beer, but I did drink some of my glass.

The last museum I visited was the Saint John's Hospital. This museum contains hospital artifacts, including some scary looking tools, as well as interesting artwork. Again it was included in the card.

I spent the rest of the late afternoon wandering past shops selling chocolates, lace and all sorts of other souvenirs. I sat on the square, where it was finally warm enough to take off my sweatshirt. I've had that on since Saturday! The wind is still cool, but the sun was nice and warm. I had another waffle (good thing I'm doing all this walking) for a snack with warm cherries and whipped cream. For dinner I got some pasta from a make your own pasta dish place and I ate that next to the Belfry.

My feet are tired and so I am back in the room. I walked almost 8 miles today! Tomorrow is my last full day and I plan to see as many more interesting places as I can. If I haven't already said, I love it here!

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10th June 2015

Just like Peanut...except Peanut doesn't sleep in a window! I hope he doesn't fall out.

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