Romantic Brugge

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of Belgium  , West Flanders,
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Belgium is famous for its beer, chocolate, lace work, chips/fries/frittes in this order. Apparently there is quite a debate going on as to who actually invented fired potatoes - the French or Flanders, but the Belgians feel do strongly about it that a recent addition to the museum scene in Brugge is the Friet Museum.

Apparently they produce more than 400 different beers and Ryan did his best to try and taste all of them on the first day, while I stuck to the fruit beer like Kriek (beautifully red cherry beer) or Lemon Beer. Difference is that Belgium beers are strong - plus 11%, so the evening got quite entertaining, ending in a local pub close to our B&B. I'm sure the locals were very disappointed when they caught a sight of us (the tourists) standing oddly in the entrance, while we're wondering if it's acceptable to fight the dogs for a seat. Brugge is full of tourists and this was probably the one bar which evaded the masses, up until we made an appearance. We ended-up making a few new friends and learnt a lot more about the Belgium way of live. Flemish was a lot easier to understand than Dutch, so we had our conversations in Flemish and Afrikaans to great a amount of laughs. The locals said they could understand us because we sound like 3 year old Flemish speaking kids.

Brugge is a beautiful, romantic little medieval town, which could possibly be described as a mix between Amsterdam and Venice, with many channels or waterways and stone bridges. Many houses are protected for historic preservation and the owners are not allowed to make any changes to the facade. Our initial impression of this little gem was confirmed by climbing the 366 stept clock tower, Belford, for a view over the town. Further confirmation that Brugge truly is a special place was a canal tour with a very informative guide and for only Euro6.50 it's a must! For some culture we visited the Onze Likeve Vrouekerk, which houses the remarkable art treasure: Michelangelo's Madonna and Child, a small marble statue from 1504 and one of the few (some say the only) work of Michelangelo outside Italy.

The Belgium chocolate and waffles was the other gastronomic highlights. It seems as though every second shop is a chocolatier with wide varieties of beautifully handmade chocolate delights.

The B&B we stayed in was owned and run by an ex-teacher and her husband who is an architectural engineer and his funky design comes across in all aspects of the house. The delicious Belgium breakfast included a huge breadbasket with a variety of Belgium bread.

Brugge was a sensorial overload and a gastronomic delight!
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