An October 2000 trip
to Bruges by travel2000
Quote: After being told by numerous friends in the US and in Europe that I MUST go to Bruges, we snuck it in our schedule during our stay in Brussels. This is a beautiful place, and I am now joining forces to tell you make a trip to Bruges!
Here is the official website for Bruges:
Attraction | "Lace Center"
Enter the small courtyard and pay the admissions fee at the ticket booth. The museum is in an unassuming few rooms and has an interesting collection. There are some extremely intricate work on display here. In the afternoons, there is the added bonus of seeing a demonstration. I had imagined it to be like a Murano glass-blowing exhibit, purely for tourists' eyes and without much substance. I was surprised when I entered the small room and saw about 20 old ladies working. They all sit in rows and they each have a different project to work on.
Feel free to walk around and admire the handicraft at work here. The ladies may be older in age but their eyesight must be 20/20 to work the delicate threads into complex patterns. Their fingers move non-stop and so fast it is hard to follow what they are doing. The pattern slowly appears and the different directions of threads all start to make sense.
It was not crowded at all when I visited. In fact, my group was the only one there in the museum and the demonstration. It was late October and though the rest of the town was crowded, it was very peaceful and tranquil here.
I would recommend buying your lace here. The prices are very reasonable compared to other shops and the quality is very high. Also, you can rest assure that the lace here is made by hand and not by machine. The store also carries extensive collection of lace making materials and equipment, if you feel inclined to give it a try at home.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 6, 2001
Bruges Lace Center (Kantcentrum)
32 0 050 33 00 72
Attraction | "Bruges Canal Cruise"
The first pier I passed had a long line of people waiting for their turn. I decided to first explore the town by foot and wait until the afternoon in hopes of shorter lines. By around 3pm, the skies had darkened and rain was threatening to fall. Needless to say, there were no more lines and I stopped at the first ticket booth. The fare was about $5 and after a 2 minute wait, the few of us were allowed to board the small boat.
The boat itself is medium sized, with wooden benches around the edge and rows of seats in the middle. I decided to sit towards the back to get the best view. After a couple more minutes, the boat filled up and our "captain" hopped abroad. He was an older man who spoke an impressive number of languages. He asked our group which languages we needed and then proceeded to give a short history in German, French, Spanish and English. The narrative continued with interesting tidbits and stories along the way.
The view from the boat was beautiful. I remember thinking how my gondola ride in Venice was ridiculously overpriced. I enjoyed the churches, schools, buildings, museums, numerous bridges, the trees, even an old brewery, all from a front row perspective. Our captain pointed out things like the smallest window (a tiny glass opening at the side of a building) and gave us many canal measurements and numbers of bridges to contemplate. The sky had cleared by the time the boated started, just in time for the light to break through. It was so picturesque I found it hard to stop taking too many photos.
The canals of Bruges are not as long nor intricate as those in Venice, Italy. However, they are so pleasant and in hindsight, well worth the long lines. The further you go away from the town center, the less people there are at the ticket booths. Try to pick an off-center site and try your luck.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 20, 2001
Canal Boat Tours
New York, New York