Friday, February 22, 2013

And the award for least creative blogpost title goes to...

In Bruges!

And indeed I was in Bruges about a month ago - and when I got back home I watched the movie In Bruges, which is pretty good, although I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that since even I had heard good things about it and I manage to watch about one film a year. This year, I've already smashed my average by watching In Bruges and Django Unchained, so I'm probably done until 2014. It was definitely extra fun seeing the places I'd been to just days before in a movie though (this is more thrilling for those of us who grew up far from the bright lights of New York, Paris or LA).

I've wanted to go to Bruges for ages (before the movie even). I lived for five months in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, literally half an hour away from the Belgian border, but while I got to go to Belgium about once a week on average (for work), the fact that I was working up to 16 hours a day, 6 days a week and the difficulties of making the public transport schedules work for me meant that I never made it to Bruges despite being relatively near by.

So when I had to go to Brussels, I knew I had to take the opportunity for a quick trip to Bruges. Since my train tickets (to Brussels and back) were on the IIO dime, I didn't want to take the piss by staying too long after the interview, so I only had from early evening on Wednesday to mid-afternoon Thursday to see the city. As with Bologna, I feel there are definitely more things I would have liked to have seen and done if I had more time, such as going up the tower in the Grot Markt or seeing the collection of Memling paintings in one of the museums, but it was great just to have the chance to see the place at all really.

I was expecting a very chocolate-box, fairy-tale feeling as I set out to explore the city on the first evening - I love the Middle Ages, and Bruges is meant to be one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world. At first though, for whatever reason, I wasn't really feeling that magic. Maybe it seemed too touristified, despite the fact that it was very cold and snowy and picturesque and definitely not the high season. However, I wandered into a deserted snow-covered courtyard outside the Archaeological Museum and a carillon of bells (is that a tautology?) from the nearby Belfry started playing and it did feel a bit like a magical movie moment.

More next time on the specific sights of Bruges, first here's some photos from around the city:

The aforementioned Archaeological Museum at night

Statue on a bridge with the Church of Our Lady behind

The Basilica of the Holy Blood

Judgey bear (?) knows what you did

The Burg square

Town hall in the Burg square

Dude in the canal! He seemed to be in there deliberately to break up the ice, but damn, surely there's a better way! Or at least you put on a hat or something!

At least ice kitteh has her fur to keep her warm

The 122 metre-high spire of the Church of Our Lady

Frozen canal

Frozen canal with a view of the Church of Our Lady

If there's one thing they love in Bruges, it's light pollution

The Grote Markt

Me in front of the Belfry

A snowy square with that omnipresent Church of the Lady behind

Pavilion near the Groeningemuseum

Snowy statue near the Archaeological Museum


  1. In the course of your article the Grot Markt changed to the Grote Markt. As a fan of Reginald Perrin I find this very disappointing!

    1. I think actually it might just be "Markt" and I'm getting mixed up with Brussels... Now, you know i don't know who people like Reginald Perrin are!

    2. PS I expected you to be the one to tell me "carillon of bells" was redundant!

  2. Did you cut your hair or is it tucked in your collar?!

    Bruges is on my list of places that I want to visit. I should definitely make a point of going there while we live relatively close to it.

    1. Yes, I cut it for the interview, although I think it looks a bit shorter than it really is. There is a better photo on one of my posts from Bologna.

      It is actually very easy to get to from Brussels, some people even do it as a day trip although I've always heard it's better to go overnight when the tourists are thinner on the ground. Not so much of a problem in January, but it was nice wandering around at night, although I found the illumination a bit over the top (as in my photo above). I think you said Sara would be back sometime soon - hopefully you can make the trip ttogether!

    2. Your hair looks lovely! The shorter style really suits you.

      Ha! Has Sara been sending you secret messages?! She really wanted to go to Belgium for the BEER, fries and ??. Hmmm, I don't think that there was anything else.

    3. Thanks! Ha ha, those are good enough reasons (no chocolate??)

  3. "Judgey Bear knows what you did..." SO FUNNY!
    And your blogpost title ending up being the most creative :)

    1. Thank you! That bear cracks me up!


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