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Woman making laceSept. 4, 1998  Brugge, Belgium

We arrive in Brugge around 1:00 p.m.. An expeditious stop by the information booth at the train station, and we are armed with a map and a plan for making the most of the afternoon. Brugge, like most smaller European towns, can be rather easily navigated by walking in the general direction of the tallest structure (usually a steeple), and beginning your tour with the town, or market square.

Gruuthuse MuseumAlong our stroll, we slip under an old brick archway into a narrow walk with 12 ft walls on either side. Our short cut leads us into the courtyard of Gruuthuse Museum. It is here, as we sit on a far wall and watch fallen leaves in the canal lazily drift alongside us, that we glance upstream for our first introduction to the canal cruise boats. Yes, a bit touristy, but now a ‘must do’ on our list.

Market SquareContinuing our casual stroll, we do eventually make it to the market square. Like others, it is lined with small shops and cafés. Laura picks ‘the cutest’ and we grab a table and order cappuccino to help us study our map and decide on our ‘must sees’. With the sight of the canal boat slipping gracefully through seemingly still waterway, still fresh in our minds, we quickly decide that should be the activity next on our list.

Brugge via canal boatThe old polished varnished wood didn’t seem to complain as we each piled on board. Instead, the craft simply sank quietly to remain just above the waterline as the last passenger was seated. Our guide patiently repeated each of the tours’ highlights in Dutch, French, and English as we silently floated by. Head's down!The bridges were more charming than practical (at least for those of us who were passing BENEATH them, we had to duck at least twice). Our vantage point from the water gave an engaging perspective of this picturesque little town as well as a glimpse into what it may have been like to tend a small trading barge up and down its banks hundreds of years ago.

Jan van Eyckplein ChapelAlong our tour we see two of the city’s most prominent landmarks (Jan van Eyckplein Chapel and the Belfry and Halles) as they pop in and out between the buildings in the foreground.

The Belfry and HallesOur next planned stop was the town brewery. I’m afraid Laura and I didn’t take the time we probably should have to learn of the history or special brewing methods of Brewery De Halve Mann. We were far too interested in the finished product! After sampling quite a number of European brews in my ‘research’ over the past few years, I must say none match better with my palette than this one – Straffe Hendrick. Delicious!!

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Last modified: August 19, 1999    Photographs and text © 1998 Scott and Laura Kruglewicz. All Rights Reserved.


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