29 December 2014

In Brugge

There was a film by the same title as this blog post. Truth be told, I've never seen the film but now that I've seen the city, maybe one day I'll see the film. Maybe.

My day started out at the Old Chocolate House in Brugge. My friend Sandra had been there a week previously and she highly recommended it. The Old Chocolate House is a chocolate shop and tea rooom. Honestly I found the service to be horrid, but the food was amazing. I ordered a ginger hot chocolate and a Brussels-style waffle. The hot chocolate came as a vat of steaming hot milk and a plate of chocolate  to mix in it. It was honestly too much. Although I had not eaten breakfast and it was lunchtime, I could not finish it. 

I then set off to walk around Brugge and burn off some of that amazing chocolate and waffle. As I walked around the town, I saw how the town was decorated for the holidays as well as the Christmas market. Brugge is mostly a pedestrian town (in it's center at least), but sometimes I was in areas that I truly thought were pedestrian only and it turned out they were not. I did have to watch out for vehicles, perhaps more than normal since I did not expect them. In addition to wheeled vehicles, the center of town was teeming with horse-drawn carriages, which provided tourists with a unique city tour. I came t quickly associate the sound of horse hoofs clopping on cobblestones with Brugge. 

Brugge is a colorful city. I saw so many shades of red in the bricks of the buildings. The city is full of public art, some of which is quite unqiue such as the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalpyse" statues or the fountains near the station. Located only 9 miles from the North Sea, the houses closely resemble houses I have seen in the Netherlands. 

I visited the Notre Dame Cathedral in town and saw the world famous Michaelangelo statue, Madonna and Child. Seeing this was even more poignant for me, because on my flight here I watched the movie "The Monuments Men", and one man died trying to protect this very statue. That movie was based on a true story and has certainly made me appreciate the art I am seeing and the sacrificies people made to protect it in times of war.

Brugge is often compared with Venice because of its series of canals. I took a boat ride on the canals. The view was beautiful, however the ride was uncomfortable due in part to the cold air and mostly due to the kids around me who were pushing each other ... right in to me. But it was nice  to see how the city grew along the canals and the beauty of the city from the water.

After my river tour, I walked around town. I saw the Grote Markt, city hall, and more. I meandered through town until I reached the chocolate museum.

The chocolate museum was crowded and narrow, but it did a good job on displaying the history of chocolate and the process used to make chocolate. My favorite two parts came at the end: 
1. I saw a number of chocolates made into statues. One of my favorite was of a family with the description that they loved chocolate so much that they were eating themselves!
2. We had a demonstration on how to make filled chocolates. I thought it was interesting how they filled the mold, emptied the mold until it was just coated, then once hardened filled with the filling. Once that cooled and hardened, then chocolate was poured over it again.

I enjoyed my day in Brugge, it is definitely a tourist city - full of tourists. I would go back, and if I had a chance, I would want to climb the Belfry tower, visit the city hall inside and explore the narrow winding streets even further. I have also heard that walking along the canals to the windmills is nice. I'll have to return one day and find out. 

1 comment:

  1. If you follow the canal to the windmill, you will find a place called Damme. It's a magical place, far far away from the busy touristy part of Bruges. You will have to come back there one day.