|A walking tour of Bruges
||[May. 1st, 2017|08:37 pm]
I've already posted the condensed version of our day in Bruges: here's the longer version, with illustrations. As I said, we parked in the car park next to the station, which gave us free bus travel into town - and this is what we saw when we got off the bus:
We set of with no particular aim in mind. Let's follow the water... Is it a river? Or a canal? Something between the two? It seems to encircle the old town, and since the town is not big, we kept coming back to it. Here's the classic view, though we didn't reach it until later -
- but imagine something similar at the end of every street, and you'll not be far wrong. There was plenty to distract me, and to lure me down side turnings, between one end of the street and the other, though. Lots of lovely shop signs:
Not to mention the shops themselves. Every third shop seemed to be selling chocolate, and they all had spectacular window displays for Easter. This one was a bit different:
No, not the giant green rabbit, that's perfectly normal, but those things that look like oversized corn dollies, those are that well-known Belgian delicacy, waffles on sticks. Here's another kind of window display:
The bicycle is evidently part of the window dressing, it's painted in the turquoise livery of thew 4711 eau de cologne that fills the window (I hadn't realised they still made that: it's the sort of thing you used to buy for your grandmother).
And here's a peaceful square, a quiet turning off the main street, all green and leafy:
The building on the right is a parking garage for bicycles. It has neon bike-shapes hanging in the entrance. Here's a little something from the Burg, a square full of important government buildings. I took some general views, but I don't like them as much as this roof-level detail:
We lunched at the Halve Maan brewery - it means 'Half Moon', and dates back to 1546:
We didn't take the tour, though we did admire the pipeline connecting the old brewery to to the modern works a couple of miles away - there's a convenient viewing hole in the ground:
Life isn't all beer and skittles, but I don't have any pictures of the Beguinage. The nearest I can show you is the swans on the other side of the canal:
I failed to love the Beguinage. That's not why I didn't take many pictures: the charm of the place is in the ensemble of white houses around a central green, dotted with trees and carpeted with daffodils (past their best but still a spectacular display) - and there's no way to capture that within the borders of a photograph (or there is, but not for me). I had wanted to visit ever since I heard Karen Maitland talk about it; and expectations are always liable to be disappointed. I might have been more sensitive to the spiritual atmosphere of this peaceful place if there weren't quite so many signs reminding me to be respectful, and indeed silent - which didn't inhibit the tour guides (who irritated me) or the people wandering through, just chatting (who didn't). Anyway, there was no seat where we could have sat for a while and soaked it up. So we moved on.
The Minnewater was once a busy harbour, apparently. Now it is rather self-consciously romantic. At the far end there is a tower, guarding the steps down to what is, I think, the canal connecting Bruges and Ghent:
You can just see it over the fence on the left, but I was more interested in photographing those spectacular plants (which I think are some kind of butterbur). The canal leads through a green park, which comes to an end right opposite the station. And that's where we came in.
This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.