Today began another sunny, cold, yet, rain less day in Brugge. It seems with global warming one can never predict how to dress or pack for touring. Grateful for the clothing store in the train station I purchased a heavy sweatshirt for over my fleece. To my chagrin the only sweatshirt available stated “New York City Original.” While it doesn’t say Brugge it is warm and I am a New Yorker.
I started my day by exploring the city architecture. Each home is more unique than the next and one can easily get lost in the small streets. The visitor center has the best map, pick up several while there. The elder Belgians are helpful and even approach you as you stand holding a map with a puzzled look on your face. Never before did I have people stop me and say, “Are you lost? May I help you?” Look for those seniors and don’t forget to thank them.
Shoes are another concern for Brugge. Pack sneakers or any shoe with thick soles as the cobblestones are ghastly on your feet and you are going to want to walk, walk, walk, as there is so much to see.
Today I ventured the biking/ walking path surrounding the City. Here they had a runner’s marathon going on. While exploring windmills, walled city bridges and canals with ships making transport to the sea, tag teams of men ran by as bagpipes played.
Once I returned to city center from my architectural tour another lively event was underway. Locals play in drum and orchestra groups throughout the season. Check for dates and times on this fun and free event. They performed several American songs and sounded quite well.
In the square there are also many shops and historic places to see. It was here I found the Church of Saint Donaas, with The Basilic of the Holy Blood nearby as is City Hall and the Historium with a great balcony which serves beer and overlooks the square. Speaking of beer, don’t forget the great food – french fries, mussels, Flemish stew and of course to top it off Belgian chocolate.
Brugge is an important European city. It is the capital of the province of Flanders and a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. It’s port has significant economic importance and the city is home to the College of Europe.
On to tomorrow where we will explore several museums.