Bruges – the Ireland of Belgium

Bruges, the Ireland of the Netherlands!

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Now a museum! I forget what this lovely old building used to be, but it’s in the marketplace of Bruges, the center of this quaint town.

Or so our tour guide told us. Apparently, back in the day (after their golden age from 12th century to the 15th century), Bruges was super poor and had no money for modern infrastructure, and so everyone just drank a whole lot and nothing modern got built.

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One of the roads leading up to the market place. I was totally lost when I first got here because the streets weren’t named and not a single one went in a straight line. That’s the Middle Ages for you.

So they drank a whole, whole lot and then the people of Bruges got the nickname the Irish of the Netherlands. Well, because they weren’t building anything modern, the city retained its old charm, and because of a movie or two, got super, super popular.

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This is the belfry. It’s quite lovely, and super tall.

Actually, it got super popular first off, because this writer (in the later 1800s) wrote about how awful Bruges was as a city. So then people started to visit it. From there there was a movie or two. (Maybe you’ve seen In Bruges? With Colin Farrell?)

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Another view of the belfry! It shows you a little more of the square, and also the statue of an important guy whose name I forget. Pretty sure it had something to do with a revolution though.

Anyway, super awesome. Got some chocolate to celebrate from one of the few members of the Bruges chocolate guild (none of that super touristy stuff), because it was my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

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The owner told me, when I bought a box, “These are not chocolates to eat, they are chocolates to enjoy.” She was 100% correct.

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Some other photos:

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Captured this beautiful image of the sunset out by the windmills. I tried to weave through to the other side of the city to get the sun setting over the canal that encircles the city. But got a bit lost…
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Lady Justice looking lovely in gold on top of an old palace? Maybe it’s a palace. Pretty sure it is.
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One of the windmills on the eastern side of the city at dusk.
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There was an open air concert going on. Pretty sure it was in Dutch. Had no idea what was really happening. It was kind of a weird punk-rock. But got a great photo.

 

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There’s water all over and all around Bruges, and it made for a lovely component for framing. I played a lot with the reflections in the water and only like this one photo came out looking okay. It was so amazing walking along everywhere though, and everything was so old! My one guide said that it would be easier to put plaques on the houses that are under 100 years old than the ones older than that. 

 

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There’s a legend on why Bruges has so many swans: “Brugeans have a medieval swan legend, that of Pieter Lanchals (‘long neck’). Lanchals was the right hand man of Maximilian I of Habsburg, who tried to seize power in Bruges but was imprisoned in the Craenenburg house at the Market Square and made to watch the torture of his henchman, including Lanchals, whose head ended up on a spike at Gentpoort. On his release, Maximilian regained power and forced the city to keep swans in the canals for eternity because of their long necks” (Source).

 

 

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Another windmill, might actually be the same windmill, but the sun has fully set.

 

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The cloister at Bruges still has a couple of nuns living here. The houses though, can be rented out to single ladies who want to live within a protected community. No guys allowed after hours though. 

 

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Saw the ending of a wedding here! Didn’t get a great photo of the bride, but the balloons got released into the air afterwards!

 

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