Regardless of all the artwork and architecture to see in this city, I had to take home a little of the fine craftsmanship of Bruges. Finding lace shops wasn’t difficult. One can hardly avoid them! Two on the street connecting the Burg and the Markt lured me in with their window displays. I already had plenty of table lace, but these shops had many alternatives: coasters and serving plates with lace pressed under glass, blouses with
lace trim of every conceivable arrangement, and framed lace, just to name a few. Patterns included castles, cathedrals, bell towers, ladies with parasols, swans, and more,
all a propos to the city landscape. I bought a little set of framed lace to give as a
Christmas present ($20 euro).
This took my mind and body away from the cold and convinced me that December is after all a good time to go to Belgium. Who wouldn’t want a present from Bruges? Next stop was a tapestry store with pillows, pocketbooks, vests, and more. I found the perfect hanging tapestry for myself, an actual canal scene of Bruges with shimmering buildings reflecting in the water and swans and the belfry tower in the
background. Perfect! It even has a wide border and straps for hanging ($55 euro). It
isn’t very large (17 x 20 inches, not including straps). Others the same size were $25-35, but were not as nice. Large ones are hundreds. Good advice is to measure a wall
where it will hang before leaving home and then buy the largest one you can possibly fit
there and afford. The owner of the shop told me all his tapestries are "made in the
factory of my brother, and you can’t get more local than that!"
Chocolate shops had nice little stocking-stuffer variety boxes (pretty boxes). At
Chocolaterie Sweertvaegler, Philipstockstr. 29, the lady at the counter assured me she had made everything in the store herself. I bought three little boxes for just a little over $8 euro total, and I see they all have her label on them. Such fortitude--I haven’t opened a single one! (Of course, I had others from Antwerp that weren’t in such nice boxes.)
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Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
July 11, 2004
For the perfect end to a day's shopping continue along Steenstraat until you reach a side street called Kemelstraat, which begins roughly twenty metres from Stevinplein. On the left hand side of the street ‘t Brugs Beertje--undoubtedly the finest pub in the city--claims to have more than 300 beers from all over Belgium on sale (not all of which are listed on the fifteen page menu), and adverts for most of them plastering the walls above the cigarette smoke and wooden tables. The atmosphere is definitely geared towards the serious drinker--comfort and food are available, but only in very small measures. The pub opens from 4pm till around 1am except for Wednesdays so you don't need to rush with the shopping.
From journal Magical Bruges
, West Virginia
December 14, 2002
From journal Bruges: Artistry Frozen in Time