When I first saw this Bollywood number ‘Char Kadam bas Char kadam chaldo na saath mere’ from the movie PK, I fell in love with the location at the backdrop. I Googled to find out about this beautiful Belgian UNSESCO World Heritage City of Bruges.
And it was on my wish list ever since. So, in 2015 when we had to choose a city to visit in Belgium I stamped Bruges over Brussells.
It was pouring heavily when we reached the city on a mid June evening but was mesmerised nevertheless. It seemed like I was transported to a completely different world. This canal laced picture perfect city with its old world European charm took my heart away.
We checked in at the hotel which was right in the heart of the city, relaxed for a while and went out to take a stroll to explore it more. The place looked spectacular in the evening light.
This city closes early: markets by 4:30 and most restaurants by 9:30 pm. Thus an early dinner pushed us to our hotel, built on a more than 200 yrs old wooden structure. After having a good discussion on its architectural details with a glass of wine we dozed off.
The next morning was an early start. With a copy of city map we took to the streets to explore the Market Square through the beautiful cobbled streets. It was a bustling place flooded with tourists and a constant clatter of horse driven carriages, amidst well preserved architectural Marvels.
We started with Basilica of Holy Blood: Church and pilgrimage site with holy relic, Town Hall (constructed in 1400’s), Church of our Lady : the Church holds a wealth of art, including the famous Michelangelo -Virgin and Child, Liberty of Bruges and Groeninge museum: which has the best Art Collection of Bruges.
Our next stop was Belfry: standing tall and magnificent since 14th Century, it is one of the finest Bell towers in Belgium. Climbing up its 366 steps (with almost a 9″ riser) was not easy but worth it. If the panoramic view of the city doesn’t amaze you enough the majestic mechanism of the bell ringing, surely will.
Our next discovery was the Canal system of the city, which is explored best through a boat ride. The well manicured water fronts, lovely gardens, picturesque arched bridges and beautiful medieval buildings dating back 14th- 17th century put our camera in a frenzy of click, click click.
Bruges is famous for three things laces, Beer & Chocolates. It’s a paradise for chocolate lovers. Having discovered that we had a double dip, exploring the city on cycle!
Through the alleys, crossing bridges on nice cobbled roads with nice cool breeze, it was very enjoyable ride. The map of the city is quite handy and one can easily figure out places to cover the rest of the city in almost 2 hours.
In fact the city has an amazing collection of cycles that can be hired, in all shapes, sizes and combinations. I found the one with a combo of a very big and a very small tyre most interesting!
Windmills, museums and churches, the city has everything. I enjoyed every bit of it, stopping, parking, seeing, eating and again exploring. It was an enriching experience in itself. A tour of few days has left me with lovely memories to cherish for a lifetime.
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