Bruges Journals

Bruges and Ypres Salient - Beautiful and Horrible

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A July 2004 trip to Bruges by Ed Hahn

Bruges Photo, Bruges, Belgium More Photos
Quote: After a long train ride, we fall in love with Bruges, one of the great walking cities. The next day, we visit a number of historic and culinary sites. The following day, we tour the WWI Ypres Salient and dine heartily at a great restaurant.

Bruges and Ypres Salient - Beautiful and Horrible

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Overview

Bruges Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
We leave the Loire Valley reluctantly and spend a good part of the day on trains: Orleans to Paris' Gare d'Austerlitz, taxi to Gare du Nord, Thalys super-train to Brussels Midi, and local train to Bruges. We get confused by the three train stations in Brussels, but manage to find one to Bruges. We fall in love with Bruges. The taxi driver is a welcome change from the surly one we had in Paris. The Grand Oude Burg hotel people are welcoming and the room is a good size for a change. Plus, we have access to a great rooftop view of Bruges. The hotel bar is a good retreat for discussing the Tour de France with some real fans. It's Belgian National Day, so we join some of the festivities after...Read More

Grand Hotel Oude Burg

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Hotel

Grand Hotel Oude Burg Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
This is a full-service hotel with a TV, telephone, minibar, and safe in each room. It is right in the center of the old town near the Belfry on Market Square. It has a somewhat rickety metal terrace you can access to get a rooftop view of Bruges. It also has a small garden where you can order snacks and drinks. When we get there, the check-in people are eager but seem a bit harried, especially when we ask about an Internet connection. We once again run into what I am labeling the "Internet disconnect." That is, though the hotel says it has Internet service, what is meant by that is open to wide and variable interpretation. In this case, they have wireless access but the guest mus...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 4, 2005

Grand Hotel Oude Burg
Oude Burg 5
Bruges, Belgium B-8000
+32 50 44 51 11

Groeninge Museum

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Attraction

Groeninge Museum Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
We walk from the Municipal Square to the Groeninge Museum also bureaucratically called 'The city museum of Fine Arts'. This museum is housed in an old restored palace-type residence and is one of the most efficiently organized museums I've visited. The collection was started at the beginning of the 18th century, but the restoration and installation is recent, 1929-1930. The collection spans several centuries, from the 14th to the 20th. It focuses primarily on works by painters who lived and worked in Bruges. The audio guide is most instructive. It tells you more than you may have ever wanted to know about each of the paintings. The bulk of the collection is focused on early or "Primitive"...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 4, 2005

Groeninge Museum
Djiver 12
Bruges, Belgium

Downtown Bruges Walking Tours

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Attraction | "Our Walking Tour - Four Historical Attractions"

Downtown Bruges Walking Tours Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
In addition to the Groeninge Museum, described elsewhere in this journal, we visit the City Hall, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Church of Our Lady, and the Beguinage. All are easily accessible by foot. The Gothic-style City Hall dates back to the 14th century, when Bruges was a major trading center and seaport. The murals inside are both beautiful and historically interesting. The vaulted ceilings and 17th-century frescoes are also very impressive. It has a small artifacts museum, too. The entrance fee, at 2.5€, is very reasonable. It is certainly worth our time. See more information at http://www.brugge.be/Musea/en/mgze.htm. We next visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 5, 2005

Downtown Bruges Walking Tours

Bruges, Belgium

De Halve Maan/Half Moon Brewery

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Attraction | "The Half Moon Brewery (De Halve Maan)"

De Halve Maan/Half Moon Brewery Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
We decide to visit the local Half Moon Brewery for a tour. The 45-minute tour is fun but a little disappointing because, in 2004, they were no longer brewing beer at this location. In checking their website, though, I found they are now brewing and taste-testing a new beer, "Dilemma," at this location. Nevertheless, the guide, who is actually a family member, puts out a lot of historical and brewing information. The tour features the old tradional brewing methods, and we see 200-year-old machinery and bottles from at least that long ago. It's hard to absorb it all. It is obvious the Belgians take their beer seriously. We go all the way up to the roof of the old building, whe...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 6, 2005

De Halve Maan/Half Moon Brewery
Walplein 26
Bruges, Belgium

Quasimodo Tours

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Attraction | "Quasimodo Tours - Flander's Fields"

Quasimodo Tours Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
This tour is done in a small, comfortable van. Our guide is the knowledgeable, Sharon. Unfortunately, I never write down her family name. We visit the following sites in the morning: the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the New Zealand Memorial at Gravenstafel and Hellfire Corner which every soldier had to pass on his way to the front. We stop for lunch at the Hooge Crater Museum. After lunch, we visit Hill 60, which is riddled with tunnels, and was the site of the Battle of Messines and an American Memorial near Mt. Kemmel. In the mid-afternoon we go to Ypres to see the Menin Gate Memorial. We explore the town itself with it's re-built medieval buildings and guild halls. We also visi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 6, 2005

Quasimodo Tours
Leenhofweg 7
Bruges, Belgium

Visiting Flanders Fields - Details

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Story/Tip

Flanders' Fields Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
In the Historical Tour entry, I could not describe everything I saw and felt during the Quasimodo tour of Flander's Fields so I'm offering that additional information, here. We have booked a tour of the WW I battlefields in the Ypres Salient. On an appropriately grey day, we walk to the pick-up point for the tour. Sharon of Quasimodo Tours picks us up in a van. She is an interesting person: half Flemish and half Aussie but born in Penang, Malaysia when her father, who had joined the Aussie air force was stationed there. Our tour companions are an Australian couple living in Cambodia, a couple from New Zealand and a very knowledgeable British gentleman. A most interesting group, and we are l...Read More