In 2007 after spending a week in spain with Neil and Lori Kathy and I moved on to Bruges, Belgium for a week. We picked Bruges after seeing pictures that Neil and Lori posted of their visit there. It is a marvelous old world city that dates back to around 900 AD. The city center is the old part of town and is laced with narrow streets and canals.
Bridge over canal
Canal in early morning fog
View from our flat in Bruges
We, through the magic of the net, had rented a flat in the old city for the week we were there. Our flat was on the top floor of a three-story house that was built around 1700. Of course it was also a walk up. The flat contained every thing we needed including a computer with net access. We discovered a nice bakery that was about a five-minute walk from the flat. Since it opened around five it was a great place to get bread and cheese for breakfast. I think we walked to it every morning we were in Bruges. Our flat was also only a five-minute walk from the main square in Bruges.
Sunset view from our flat - mary Poppins anyone
The city center, with its lack of parking and narrow streets, is a mecca for bike riders and it seems as if many people use them for commuting to work, shopping and taking kids to school. Their bikes, unlike ours, are mostly one speed cruiser type bikes and it was not unusual to see someone with two kids on the bike, one behind the seat and one in front of it.
Belgium chocolates (it takes all kinds)
Bruges has many small shops that specialize in chocolate, coffee and tea. These sell primarily to tourist, the towns major industry. The shops were fun to browse through and we did buy our share of chocolate and tea. Belgium chocolate is very different from what we get here in the states and from our point of view it was much better. Many of their chocolates are made with no sugar added. Of course as you can see above there is competition to see which window displays will draw people in to the store. This one was in the window of one of the finer shops in town.
Canal boats in early light
Bruges canal boats
We spent many days walking around the city center and viewing all the sights. Walking was easy because you can only go about thirty minutes in any direction and than you are at the edge of the historic part of town. We also did several very tourist activities wich included a horse drawn carrige ride and a canal boat tour.
Convent in Bruges
Sign on convent grounds
Bruges has market days several days of the week. The markets rotate beween the large squares in the old part of the city and you can buy almost anything at these markets. Items for sale included clothes, prepared foods, flowers, spices, produce and even live chickens. We visited these markets several times and found it a great place to pick up dinner to take back to our flat.
Market Day vegtable stand
Market Day flower stand
And of course there was no shortage of outdoor cafes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a cup of coffee. The cafes have no problem with people sitting over coffee/tea and people watching for extended periods of time.
Bruges cafe time
Bruges plaza sculpture