Bruges Journals

A Winter Weekend in Bruges

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A February 2002 trip to Bruges by Bear in Britain

A typical canal scene Photo, Bruges, Belgium More Photos
Quote: Wondering where to go to take advantage of winter flight deals? Try Bruges. It’s intimate, walk-able and filled with quaint sites, shops, bars and restaurants that offer a retreat whenever the cold gets too much. Go before Easter and get the bonus of Europe’s best chocolate in high season.

A Winter Weekend in Bruges

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Overview

A typical canal scene Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
Bruges is one of those rare places perfectly preserved in time. In this case, it’s the late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. It’s hard to find anyplace this uniformly picturesque that wasn’t designed by Disney. I’d been to Bruges as a student and manic sight-seer. This time, I just wanted to wander. I’d been reading Dorothy Dunnett’s “House of Niccolo” series of historical novels, which brings 15th century Bruges to vivid life, and wanted to bring the book to life in my mind. Bruges is a wonderful place to simply wander aimlessly. The architecture is uniformly 15th century, yet seems infinite in the variety of its detail. You can spend hours appreciating a gable here, a window the...Read More

Hotel Ter Brughe

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Hotel

Hotel Ter Brughe Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
Staying at the Hotel Ter Brughe is a perfect way to drink in the atmosphere of this town. It occupies a converted 16th century house & warehouse; this was one of the engine rooms that drove the trading empire. It’s directly on a canal and in a quiet part of town, yet with a gentle 5-minute walk you’re into the heart of things. I found the Ter Brughe to be a pleasant compromise between large and small hotels. It had the style, service and professionalism of a corporate enterprise with the decorating touches, size and feel of a B&B. The whole place has been recently refurbished. My room on the top floor was beautifully furnished and had shutter windows that opened over a glorious expa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 21, 2002

Hotel Ter Brughe
Oost Gistelhof 2
Bruges, Belgium 8000
+32 050 340324

Gruuthuse Hof

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Restaurant

Quote:
This restaurant is conveniently located just across from the tourist blockbusters of the Gruuthouse and the church of Our Lady, yet somehow doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. It’s small and cosy; I doubt if there were more than 12 tables in the place. The building is slightly triangular, as is stands on a corner where two streets come together into a third. Thus you enter through a front that is narrower that the rear. The three sides facing forward are windows, giving you a great view of the architecture, while the back wall is a bar and service area. There’s both an a la carte menu and an all inclusive tourist menu. I went for the latter and had both plenty of choice and a great...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 21, 2002

Gruuthuse Hof
Mariastraat 36
Bruges, Belgium
+32 (0) 50 330 614

The Burg Square

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Attraction | "Burg Square: Town Hall and Chapel of the Holy Blo"

The Burg Square Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
Burg Square (the smaller of the two in the town centre) is dominated by the 14th century Town Hall. Its exterior is a fantasy of carving; so delicate you’d swear it was piped in icing rather than hacked from stone. When I first saw illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages I assumed the castles in the background were fantasies. This building proves that they were very real. Inside you’ll see a massive lower hall hung with the flags of Bruges medieval guilds; an important reminder that this city was built on commerce. The real treat, however, is upstairs. The Middle Ages were dark and disdained until the Victorians did us the favour of rediscovering them. It was the 19th century...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 21, 2002

The Burg Square
Near Market Place
Bruges, Belgium

Gruuthuse

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Attraction | "Gruuthuse Museum"

Gruuthuse Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
The Gruuthuse is my favourite museum in Bruges, a wonderful combination of museum-style "collections" and a wander around a great house of one of the merchant lords of the town. Take advantage of the excellent recorded tour and spend some time here; it’s worth lingering. The Lords of Gruuthuse made their money from beer. They originally had a monopoly on "gruut", the yeast that begins the brewing process. Considering that beer was the beverage of choice for every man, woman and child in an era where drinking water was unsafe, that must have been like charging people to breathe! By the height of their power in the 15th century the Lords Gruuthuse were as powerful as any European monarch, work...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 21, 2002

Gruuthuse
Dijver 17
Bruges, Belgium