Monday, 4 December 2017

Bus Trip To Bruges

Last Saturday morning found me jumping on a coach at 0600...destination Bruges. (or Brugge as the locals call it)  A trip had been organised at work and being ridiculously cheap it would have been daft not to go.  Save for one night in Oostende back in the eighties, I'd never been to Belgium so I was looking forward to this trip.  Unfortunately when we drove out of the Eurotunnel in Calais we were greeted by dense and freezing fog which continued into Belgium meaning our first glimpses of Bruges, a UNESCO heritage centre were somewhat eery.

Not for me were the Christmas market stalls, I just wanted to soak up the history and the ambience of the place, which admittedly was a tall order in the four hours we had there.

The town was swarming with tourists and it was difficult not to get swept along the cobbled streets. Unsurprisingly, people everywhere were stopping for selfies as the town is incredibly picturesque, even in the mist!  The 400 foot high spire of The Church of Our Lady was enveloped in a blanket in fog.

The ornate Flemish architecture of the area is exceptionally pretty and a photographers delight, although I'd have preferred blue skies the overcast weather did not deter me from snapping away.

14th century City Hall or Stadhuis

Of course Belgian chocolate is world renowned and plays a strong role in the country's economy.  There are over two thousand chocolatiers in Belgium and the streets of Bruges certainly have their fair share with windows boasting chocolate in every form imaginable.  

Bicycles were parked everywhere, although heaving crowds prevented an easy passage on two wheels.

Noticeable in Belgium were the espaliered trees everywhere and the use of boughs of fir to decorate the shop fronts which I thought particularly tasteful, unlike some of the dreadful, garish tat seen in my nearest town.

After a couple of hours wandering the bitterly cold streets my hands were so numb I couldn't feel the camera shutter button beneath my fingertips so we dived into a restaurant for lunch and a fortifying glass of warme wijn.  (Did I get that right Ann?)

We were attended by a rather sullen-looking elderly waiter, who we all thought should be at home with his feet up, not racing around a restaurant that was bursting at the seams.   The fish soup I ordered (a local speciality) was delicious and my choice was envied by colleagues who'd played safe with boring omelettes.

After lunch we walked back past the canal, more visible now as the fog had lifted and all agreed that a return visit to this beautiful city was in order as we just couldn't do it justice in the few short hours we'd had.

Founded in the mid 12th century Sint-Janshospitaal is one the oldest sites for health care still in existence in Europe.

En route to the coach park I saw this groovy Sister overlooking the park from a top floor restaurant window.  

An homage perhaps to another, more famous Belgian nun?

After that trip down memory lane I'm off now to catch up with the ironing and the latest episode of Witnesses/Les Témoins BBC4's new gripping French drama.  Who else is watching?


  1. You've got that absolutely right, Fiona! It's lovely to see Brugge and Belgium through your eyes. Shame about the fog, but at least it was dry, as we'd been having some seriously wet weather last week. Indeed, shops and restaurants are often decorated with boughs of fir this time of year, but I never thought that was unusual. We're seriously thinking of going to Brugge for a couple of days early next year, as we've only ever been for a day, which isn't enough really. I will certainly watch out for the groovy nun, if she's still there. Oh, and thanks for the earworm - and I didn't even have a listen ... xxx

    1. A few hours is definitely not enough Ann. I didn't get to any museums, there just wasn't time and everywhere was so crowded. But it was beautiful!xx

  2. Looks a fab place to visit. Must be strange only having four hours to explore though, but well done, we still get a taste of Brugges. I have been watching Witnesses. In fact I will catch up on the latest episode tommorrow night as other half currently catching up on Peaky Blinders!

  3. What totally wonderful buildings and what a variety, Fi! I loved the film 'In Bruges' and your first photo strongly reminded me of it as I think there was a fog scene in it.

    Belgian chocolate is so gorgeous I hope you brought back lots.

    I love the decorated shops with boughs of winter flora - so much more decorative and classy than tinsel tat!

    As for Les Tremoins; my knicker elastic is firmly gripped. I find myself not breathing in places as I'm so tense. It's also slightly disturbing in places. Roll on next Saturday night! It's series 2 apparently; I wonder what series 1 was like?

    1. Of course, I'd forgotten all about that film! Should have used it for the post title instead of the boring one I used. Spent so long thinking about it but nothing came to me.
      Saturdays can't come soon enough at the moment. Xx

  4. The film, In Bruges, was the first thing I thought of when your post popped up in Bloglovin' I loved it and the architecture.
    You've captured it beautifully especially the red Vespa parked next to the bikes. Wouldn't that make a wonderful birthday card for a cool bloke?
    Hooray for choosing the adventurous option for lunch rather than playing safe with an omelette. xxx

    1. I don't know why I didn't think of that film for the post title!
      Jesus, why do people go abroad, order the safest thing on the menu and then ask for ketchup? Xx

  5. Wonderful photo-tour. I visited Bruges all too briefly years ago, in another life, and haven't made it back. A friend is going this week and I'm very jealous. Loved your groovy Sister - and it was surprisingly nice to hear the Singing Nun!

  6. Bruges is a lovely city. I visited it many years ago and really enjoyed the time we spent there. Having enjoyed you photos I think I now want to go back!! Jx

  7. I was in Bruges years ago and remember it as a beautiful city, full of history. It was nice to see it again through your eyes. And I'm another who likes a singing nun.

  8. Lovely photos Fiona, you packed a lot into a few hours! Never been to Bruges, but my sister used to live in Brussels and my memories of visiting her are largely chocolate based..
    Enjoyed the Singing Nun xx

  9. wonderful photos...tfs,
    :) Karen


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