Tag Archive: Bruges



My last visit was in 2003 but that was on official business so it shouldn’t count. In 1986 and 2000, I was there. First as a student, the next as a tourist. Most things remained the same, but for the price of West End tickets. As a newbie watching musicals for the first time, I was very lucky to be there when Les Miserables first showed some 3 months before my arrival in 1986. With my student discount, it was a steal watching it and quite frankly, I was beyond awed. I’ve never seen the likes of it till then. I’ve watched it several times since, both in West End and Broadway, and even back in my home country. This Cameron Mackintosh was my new hero. Fast forward 2019. Ticket prices have spiralled. Lowest-priced musicals still hovered from £30 upwards. Some at £200 and up. And I mean really upwards. If you’re aiming to watch only one or 2, sure you can splurge. But not if you’re meaning to watch more. And so, rather than stay longer in London, we moved to stay nearly a week in Amsterdam and then another week in Brussels before heading back to London and onwards for 8 nights in Bath and The Cotswolds. We made many day trips from our chosen city base using trains, buses and vans. This is our Trip Summary from May 19 to June 12, 2019.

London

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2019/05/21/touchdown-london/

London

Day Trip from London: Stonehenge

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2019/05/23/one-in-a-million-stonehenge/

Amsterdam

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2019/05/25/its-been-awhile-amsterdam/

DayTrips from Amsterdam

Giethorn

Zaanse Schans

Volendam & Marken

Delft & The Hague

Brussels

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2019/06/01/touchdown-brussels/

Day Trips from Brussels

Bruges

Ghent

Antwerp

Back to UK

Bath

The Cotswolds

Day Trip to Cardiff, Wales


In the northwest of Belgium lies Bruges, the capital and biggest city of West Flanders. You would not want to miss this fairy-tale medieval town with its charming market squares, cobble-stoned walkways, a skyline of soaring spires, the clatter of horse-drawn carriages, swans gliding across the waters, the whitewashed almshouses and dreamy canals. Belgium is most certainly more than just fries, chocolates, mussels, waffles and beer. One would think it’s such a small country and visiting the capital Brussels is enough. Well, we spent a week in this European capital and made good time doing day trips from the capital. Got to say we were so happy to base ourselves in Brussels for a week to do as many day trips. One city or town each day. We wanted to do it more leisurely this time. If I were to change anything at all, I’d plan to stay a couple of nights here in Bruges!

Bruges

Bruges

The first 3 photos were our first impressions of Bruges. I wasn’t expecting to see horse-drawn carriages but they sure enhance the medieval splendour of this very Flemish city. Throw in those step-gabled building facades. The canals. And that iconic octagonal belfry called Belfort. If I didn’t see it for myself, I would have guessed this was some Hollywood Studio prepping for a period movie. I nearly imagined a lovely lady coming out of one of these buildings dressed in a lacy gown and a bonnet with ribbon ties around her long neck. Others may remember the movie “In Bruges” but our guide gently told us NOT to believe everything depicted there as something coming out of Bruges. I have not seen the movie, so I can’t confirm that.

Bruges

Bruges

The wealth and former glory of Bruges is not easy to ignore. Strategically located, Bruges was a trading hub and the merchants freely traded their products here and even innovated their trading practices which turned out to be the forerunner of a bourse or stock exchange. From the Merchants of Venice to the more creative banker-capitalists of Bruges who likely invented the core of the banking business like promissory notes, shares of stock, stock exchange and money market? Amazing to learn how many of the banking transactions still in use today may have started here.

Bruges

Bruges

With progress, the newfound wealth found its way in various art forms. Art found many patrons and many Flemish painters thrived. So did other European masters. The Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo was his only artwork ever to leave Italy during his lifetime. Stolen, smuggled and then claimed back and restored, it is back and thankfully restored in its place in Church of Our Lady in Bruges. Jan Van Eyck, the father of oil painting, once lived in Bruges where he actually founded an art school for aspiring Flemish artists. Many artists must have drawn inspiration here. And that is not difficult to appreciate.

Bruges

Bruges

If you love art, you need more than a day trip. There are many art galleries in Bruges. Apart from the museums showcasing Flemish Primitive Painting, there is a vibrant contemporary art scene here. But even if you don’t hit the museums, you will enjoy just roaming around here. Like wandering aimlessly? Trust me, it’s good in cleansing the cobwebs off our minds and it feeds the soul. Besides, walking is good for your health!

Bruges

Bruges