Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bruges

About an hour away from Brussels is the small, quaint town of Bruges. Known as the 'Venice of the North', Bruges is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and has a long history of two thousand years. In 2000, UNESCO included the entire historical center of the city as a World Heritage Site. The city treats its visitors to some spectacular architectural beauties, cobbled streets, romantic canals and gastronomical delights.

The old town lies opposite the railway station at a stone throw distance. Just need to buy a map at the tourist office at the station and you are all set. Walking is my fav mode of transport and one of the best ways to enjoy the sights. At first you are greeted by the lovely canal Minnewater. Minne in Dutch means Love and the name of the canalized lake can be roughly translated to "The Lake of Love". It is because of these beautiful canals that Bruges got the sobriquet 'Venice of the North'.

Swan is a symbol of Bruges and you can see plenty of them in the Minnewater. Legend says that in 1488 the folks of Bruges executed one of their town administrators Pieter Lanchals from the court of Maximillian of Austria. Lanchals’ family coat of arms featured a white swan. Maximillian punished Bruges by obliging the whole population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity. Well, I don't think they mind.

Notre Dame
Sint-Salvator Cathedral

From a distance the old buildings allure the traveler and smother a cloud of calm and tranquility, which is shortlived in the hustle ad bustle of the tourists. This town is packed with them. A boat ride in these canals is something which u must indulge in. There are various places from where the canal tours originate and the cost is €5/- only. The ride is an easy way to see most of the cities many historic treasures in the form of buildings churches bridges and statues. Its also a good excuse to rest those tired feet. :)

Town Hall
Chapel of the Holy Blood

The Burg Square, which is the administrative heart of the city, has the Town Hall and to the right of it is the Chapel of the Holy Blood. The Town Hall contains some beautiful portraits of earler Dukes/Counts and Duchesses/Countesses. The Chapel of Holy Blood is actually a double chapel. The lower part is called the Basilius Chapel and the church on the first floor is the actual Chapel of the Holy Blood. The chapel contains a fragment of cloth stained with what is said to be the coagulated blood of Christ, wiped from his body after the crucifixion. Tradition has it that Count Diederik van den Elzas brought the relic containing the blood of Christ from Jerusalem to Bruges after the second crusade.

Pic - www.brugge.be

The adoration of the relic is at the origin of the internationally famous 'Procession of the Holy Blood' which passes every year on Asuncion day during the month of May through the streets of Bruges (17th May 2007).


Provincial Court

Southern side cafes

The Grote Markt (Market Square) is surrounded by the Belfry on the north, Provincial Court on the west, on the south by lotsa cafes which have a distinctive medieval appearance. In the center is the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck from the 'Battle of the Golden Spurs'.

While in Bruge, do try some of the many beers named after the city - Brugse Tripel, Brugs Blond, Brugs Witbier and Straffe Hendrik and the exquisite chocolates. Well that goes for the entire country I guess. Another speciality is the Lace that you can find in many shops. Its been practiced here for centuries and you can find people working on it. It’s also horribly expensive.

The train journey from Brussels to Bruges has a stop midway at Ghent, which is also a beautiful town like Bruges, no canals though. Train journey from Brussels to Bruges costs €12.5/- for a return journey, with trains plying every hour.

With that ladies and gentlemen, the Wanderer signs off, with a smile and a promise to take you to yet another destination sometime soon. Adios!!

5 comments:

Sakshi said...

GOOOOOOOOOOOOLD!
Consistent performance hai apun ka!

I love the pictures, my fav is the old lady :)
So you did not get me any beer or any lace ..hmph!

Atleast gold bhej do :P

arpana said...

damn! sakshi beat me to it :(
AS usual, the pics and the essay is beaut and, needless to say, im all jealous :p

Red Soul said...

such a pyara blog u have! Do u keep ur pics on Flickr? coz I would like to see more of those shots...

Red Soul said...

Also, which camera do u have.? nice pics

Lalit Singh said...

@sakshi
Gold yet again!!!
Beer n lace to nahi leke aaya... u should tell me before i leave.
and i would send the gold but m sure these materialistic gifts dont matter at all to you.

@arpz
Aapko silver mubarak ho.
:)

@Red
Thx:)
I dont host pics on Flickr. But m planning to put links of my albums on the blog. Soon maybe.
I ahve a Canon S1 IS
My photoblog:-
http://chromaticaberrations.blogspot.com/