Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Unforgettable Bruges

Bruges or Brugge in Dutch was never in our original itinerary during our recent European holiday but as fate would have it the Big K was given extra vacation days that gave us the opportunity to make a last minute detour to this enchanting medieval city. And oh boy are we ever glad we made that decision as we simply fell in love with this beautiful city.
  
Minnewater Lake 


Historic City Center of Bruges

Bruges sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North because of its many canals was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century. The city's medieval architecture is so well-preserved it was a joy just walking around admiring old buildings along picturesque canals. It was like stepping back in time. Small wonder it is included in UNESCO's World Heritage List.

At the end of this former inner-city port is a small public square, Jan Van Eyckplein, where a 
statue of the famous Renaissance painter holds court.

The Markt (market square). The Big K and I chanced upon their market day during our visit. 
Photos of Bruges market day in our Facebook page.

The Provinciaal Hof (Province Court) on market square.

The Belfry (Belfort) also on market square.

The City Hall at Burg square.

The oldest building in Bruges, the Oud Sint-Janhospitaal (St. John's Hospital) founded in
the 12th century. It now houses some of Hans Memling's works.

The spire of the Church of our Lady is one of the tallest brickwork
towers in the world at 122.3 meters high.

The chapel inside the Begijnhof (Beguinage). The Beguines are religious women,
widows or spinsters who wished to live an independent but committed life
outside of recognized religious orders with their vows of fidelity and poverty.

The swans of Bruges. Legend has it that in 1488 the people of Bruges executed one of its
administrators from the court of then reigning monarch Maximilian of Austria named Pieter
Lanchals (long neck). Maximilian in return punished the people ordering them to keep swans on 

their lakes and canals for eternity. 

The Gun Powder Tower near the entrance to Bruges.

Beer and Chocolates

Did you know that Belgium has the most number of individual beer brands in the world? Some say it's close to 800 while others say it's more than a thousand. Whatever the number is that's still a whole lot of beers! Abbey beers, Trappist beers, brown beers, white, red, blonde, and so on and so forth..... 
The Big K and I were spectacularly overwhelmed with the extensive selection. We didn't know which beers to try first in the very short time we were there. We were definitely in beer heaven! 


I want one!!!

Further proof, the best beers in the world are produced by monks.

The Beer Wall at the 2Be-Bar serving all kinds of beer!


Now who hasn't heard of Belgian chocolates? Ever since the praline (chocolate shell with a soft center) was invented in Belgium in 1912 the country has been known for making the best chocolates in the world. And Bruges is home to 50 chocolate shops. Talk about chocolate overload! 



We're on vacation I think we can be excused for having hot chocolate and Belgian waffles for lunch.

Choco-Story, Chocolate Museum in Bruges

Free taste!


Fidel and Molly

Do a Google search for the most photographed dog in Bruges, or Europe for that matter, and you'll get this result.

Fidel short for Fidelité is the most photographed dog in Bruges. And he happens to live in the same house where we stayed!

Fidel is a 12-year old yellow Labrador rescued by Caroline (owner of Côté Canal B&B) when he was just a puppy. His favorite spot to spend the entire day is on this window overlooking the canal being entertained by the passing canal cruise boats loaded with tourists. Before long he himself became a tourist attraction with boats momentarily stopping to take pictures. And because of his celebrity status, Fidel has appeared in several local movies and commercials.

"And to your right is the most photographed dog in Bruges. Say Hi to Fidel!"
Ah! What a (dog's) life!

And then there is Molly. Sweet, pretty sidekick to Fidel. Before her rescue Molly led a pretty miserable life, the worst was having almost all her bones broken because of abuse. Thanks to an abundance of TLC and Fidel taking her under his wing, Molly is now living a happy life.

Sweet Molly checking out the Big K. Visit our Facebook page for pictures of Fidel and Molly. 



It was another memorable adventure with the Big K in the incredibly beautiful city of Bruges. Unforgettable Bruges..... 




For more photos of Bruges, visit our Facebook page.