Bruges Journals

Bruges - The Epitome of Charm

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An October 2005 trip to Bruges by mightywease

Canal View Photo, Bruges, Belgium More Photos
Quote: Charm and so much more in this compact and beautiful medieval city.

Bruges - The Epitome of Charm

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Overview

Canal View Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
If you were to look up the meaning of the word “charming” then I wouldn’t be surprised if “a visit to Bruges” would be one of the answers. A weekend is never really enough to thoroughly explore a city—well, is there ever enough time?—however the compact nature of Bruges makes it an ideal venue for a short break or even just a day trip. The latter has been quite evident on both our weekend trips to Bruges. During the day the city is a bustling mix of visitors and locals which means that crowds can be quite large but at night the crowds thin out as the Eurostar and coach trips leave and the city is quieter. Not too quiet though, as the bars and restaurants soon fill up and there is p...Read More

Azalea Hotel

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Hotel | "Minotel Hotel Azalea "

Azalea Hotel Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
After I had booked this hotel, I read a rather critical review of the Azalea (on another website I hasten to add) which set me worrying as to whether I had made the right choice of hotel. Shame on me for that as the hotel was great, and the review I’d read was nothing like the experience we had there. The negative review had mentioned that the hotel’s fixtures and fittings were shabby. Well, one person’s shabby is another person’s ‘lived in’! I found the eclectic mix of furniture in the public areas—bar, breakfast room, foyer—charming. They gave the hotel character, rather than the uniform but antiseptic furniture found in some chain hotels. Shabby also has connotations of being unclean, well that ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 2, 2006

Azalea Hotel
Wulfhagestraat 43
Bruges, Belgium 8000
+32 (50) 33 14 78

Den Gouden Karpel

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Restaurant

Outside Den Gouden Karpel Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
This has to be one of the BEST meals I have ever had. Not only in terms of food but also ambience and service!The restaurant is on a small, attractive square very near the Burg. It only appears to seat about 40, so booking on a weekend is probably essential. The decor is simple but elegant—white walls, white linen on the tables, cane chairs, and subdued lighting. From the moment we walked in we were made to feel welcome by the friendly waiting staff. As we settled in at our table—by the window so we had a lovely view of the square—the comfortable atmosphere was already making me feel this was going to be something special and, when the food arrived, I was not disappointed!We ha...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 9, 2006

Den Gouden Karpel
Huidenvettersplein 4
Bruges, Belgium 8000
+32 (50) 33 34 94

Den Dyver

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Restaurant

Den Dyver Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
Restaurant Den Dyver appears as if it should be a decades if not centuries old Bruges institution, however, the restaurant actually opened in 1992 and since then has established itself as one of the most respected restaurants in the city. What attracted us, and I dare say many who choose to visit, is that the dishes are cooked using Belgian beer and served with a glass of local beer – or wine if you wish – as an accompaniment. There is an a la carte menu, however, the set menu – which changes monthly – allows you to have 3, 4 or, at times, 5 courses plus a beer or wine selection for between 46 and 74 euros (extras such as aperitifs, coffee and water not included) per person, which represen...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 9, 2006

Den Dyver
Dijver 5
Bruges, Belgium 8000
+32 (50) 336069

Gran Kaffee de Passage

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Restaurant

Gran Kaffee de Passage Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
For a good, hearty, and cost-effective meal, I would certainly suggest the Gran Kaffee de Passage. You sit on comfy seats covered in cushions, surrounded by lamps, curios, and other eclectic decorations. As it gets darker, the candles are lit and the atmosphere becomes even more convivial, perfectly attuned to eating, drinking, and chatting.The service is friendly and fast, the food wholesome and filling, the ambience relaxing and the price – 45 euros (approx. $30.00/$57.00) for two courses, beer, and a tip for two people is extremely reasonableChef’s Salad: a mixture of salad vegetables plus a small baked potato – very fresh and niceChef’s Pie: cheese, eggs and baco...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 29, 2006

Gran Kaffee de Passage
Dweersstraat 26
Bruges, Belgium 8000
32 50 340232

Canal Trip

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Attraction

View from the canal in Bruges Photo,
Quote:
This is a wonderful way of seeing Bruges from—literally—a different level. You cruise along some extremely beautiful stretches of canal overlooked by some extremely beautiful architecture! I really loved, and was very envious of, the houses right by the water. Many had stone jetties leading into the canals, some had overhanging windows, and others small courtyards from where I could imagine sitting with a good book, every so often looking up from what I was reading to stare into the water or the trees as they were stirred by a gentle breeze. Oh, if ever I win the lottery...! The trip takes about 30 minutes and there are many views and vistas that will have you reaching for your cam...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Belfry Tower/Belfort of Bruges

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Attraction | "The Belfort"

Belfry Tower/Belfort of Bruges Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
If you get lost in some of the attractive narrow streets of Bruges see if you can spot the distinctive shape of the Belfort standing out above the buildings as it is a useful focal point to lead you back to the Market.The Belfort looks like the sort of tower Rapunzel would be locked up in! Two square Norman style church towers stacked on top of each other with an extra hexagonal tower on top for good measure, decorated along the way by spires and arrow slits. This imposing structure dominates the Market and the surrounding area. Climb the 366 steps (count them, 366!) to the top for fantastic views of the surrounding city and you might also hear the 47 bells of the Carillon play a t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Belfry Tower/Belfort of Bruges
Markt Square
Bruges, Belgium

Belfry Tower/Belfort of Bruges

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Attraction | "The Belfort - Views"

Belfry Tower/Belfort of Bruges Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
The phrase “No pain, no gain” quite aptly fits the climb to the top of the Belfort. First for the pain part! The 366 steps of the spiral stone and wooden staircase are a little hard on the feet—and the thigh muscles! However, there are places where you can stop and rest for a while on the way, although with traffic moving up behind you and coming down ahead of you passing can be quite tricky (but a useful way to practice saying “After You” and “Thank You” in various languages!”) The gain part of the equation comes from the wonderful panoramic views of Bruges you get from the top. Well worth the aching muscles!Pack a camera for the views and a sturdy pair of shoe...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Belfry Tower/Belfort of Bruges
Markt Square
Bruges, Belgium

Groeninge Museum

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Attraction | "Groeningemuseum"

Groeninge Museum Photo,
Quote:
The Groeningemuseum is a small, fascinating, and world-class art gallery/museum in Bruges. The permanent collection includes paintings by early Flemish artists Jan Van Eyck and Hans Memling plus works by Gerard David, Hieronymus Bosch and, from more recent times, Paul Delvaux and Rene Magritte. Quite an impressive ‘cast-list’ for a museum of only 11 rooms!The rooms take you through different periods and styles in art i.e. Flemish Primitives, Renaissance, and Expressionism. You can compare a number of paintings on the theme of the “Last Judgement”—including the disturbing but compelling imagery of Bosch’s version. Jan Van Eyck’s ”The Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele” is wonderful in ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Groeninge Museum
Djiver 12
Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Stadhuis: Medieval Prototype

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Attraction | "The Stadhuis"

Bruges Stadhuis:  Medieval Prototype Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
If the Belfort stands guard over the Markt in Bruges then the The Stadhuis or Town Hall is sentinel of the Burg.This magnificent Gothic building was built between 1376 and 1420 and renovated in the 19th and 20th centuries. On the first floor is the restored Gothic Hall, which can be visited for an entrance fee of €2.50 (price includes a very informative audio guide).What strikes you first about the Gothic Hall is the vibrant colours with which it is decorated. The brown, gold, red, and burgundy of the arched ceiling and the large, multi-coloured wall frescoes. The latter were commissioned at towards the end of the 19th century and show scenes from the history of Belgium and Bruges ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Bruges Stadhuis: Medieval Prototype
1 Burg
Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Stadhuis: Medieval Prototype

Attraction | "The Stadhuis - Facade"

Bruges Stadhuis:  Medieval Prototype Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
Externally the façade of the Stadhuis is decorated with 49 statues representing Royal and Biblical figures. The original statues were destroyed in 1792 and replaced in 1862, however, the inferior masonry used meant that the statues had to be replaced again in the 20th century.

If you visit the Gothic Hall you are also given a guide to the statues telling you who is who and expanding on some in more detail. We particularly liked “Baldwin with the Iron Arm” and the wonderfully named “Philip the Beautiful”, on the right in the accompanying photo. Do you think his name is accurate?!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Bruges Stadhuis: Medieval Prototype
1 Burg
Bruges, Belgium

Church of our Lady

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Attraction | "Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk "

Church of our Lady Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
Along with the Belfort the 122m high spire of the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (The Church of Our Lady) is a recognizable profile on the Bruges skyline. Beginning in 1220, the church took over 300 years to complete and thus is a mixture of various architectural styles including Gothic and Baroque. The interior is quite cavernous, the walls plain however statutes and decorated side chapels add touches of ornamentation. There is an extremely striking carved wooden pulpit and impressive choir screen. Beyond the screen are tombs—most prominent being those of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold, however, this area was closed when we visited.The space and the dim—though not gloomy—light of th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Church of our Lady
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerkhof Zuid
Bruges, Belgium
050/34-53-14

Arents House and Park (Brangwyn Museum)

Attraction | "Metal Sculpture"

Arents House and Park (Brangwyn Museum) Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
These fantastic metal work statues are found in a park just of Dijver and near to the Groeninge. They represent the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and with their skeletal, angular frames, stark lines, and portentous bearing they are quite startling. Another fine example of Bruges wonderful and fascinating works of art.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Arents House and Park (Brangwyn Museum)
Dijver 16
Bruges
050 44 87 63

Zand Square

Hotel | "Sculpture in t'Zand"

Zand Square Photo, Zeebrugge, Belgium
Quote:
On t’Zand, near the concert hall, stands this wonderful statue/fountain designed by the artists Stefaan Depuydt and Livia Canestraro. There are four groups of figures representing The Bathing Ladies, The Flemish Landscape, Fisherman, and The Cyclist.

I really love the flock of birds in this picture, they look so real as if they are about to shoot downwards and pluck a fish from the water beneath.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Zand Square
Main Square in Town Center
Brugge, Belgium

Arents House and Park (Brangwyn Museum)

Attraction | "St. Bonifaciusburg"

Arents House and Park (Brangwyn Museum) Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
Situated in the Arentspark this picturesque little hump-backed bridge—St. Bonifaciusburg—looks like it is a remnant of Bruges’ medieval past. However, it was actually built in 1910!

It does provide a lovely backdrop for photographs—even with my husband Steve as part of the picture!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2006

Arents House and Park (Brangwyn Museum)
Dijver 16
Bruges
050 44 87 63

Bottle Shop

Attraction | "The Bottle Shop"

Bottle Shop Photo,
Quote:
So you’ve been to a few of the great bars Bruges has to offer, sampled a number of the 700—that’s right 700—or so beers Belgium has to offer and now you are wanting to take a few bottles away with you so you can re-create a bit of Belgium hospitality in your own home. Well, you could do worse than popping into The Bottle Shop, Wollestraat 13, just off the Markt. They sell quite a few of those 700 beers and also the special glasses that some beers are served in (many Belgium Beers are served in their own specific type of glass, from the sturdy, thick stemmed Chimay glass to the unusual glass in a wooden cradle that Kwak is poured into). The shop also sells some spirits, such as the gin like j...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 2, 2006

Bottle Shop
Wollestraat 13
Bruges, Belgium 8000
+32 (0)50 349 980

De Kuppe

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Attraction

De Kuppe Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
We were enticed into De Kuppe for two rather prosaic and one rather fantastic reason. The first two being that it was very near to the hotel (Aragon) we were staying in and the window advertised over 100 beers. The latter reason being that as they walked past they were playing “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder, which demanded to be danced to. Oh, and with Leffe and Hoegaarden on tap add another two motives.The bar itself is a long rectangular room with the bar down one side and tables and chairs on the other. Décor is – well to be honest it’s just bar-like! A plain-ish wall, wooden furniture - like a lot of good places to drink, it’s the beer that’s the thing and the cl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 29, 2006

De Kuppe
Kuipersstraat 19
Bruges, Belgium 8000
+32 (0)50 333 920