Bruges is a magnificent city, walking into the town square had a true WOW effect. Many of the buildings date back to the 1200s. I didn’t realize that the city had so many canals so we decided to take a boat tour which was terrific.
While there were some great views from our boat, it was difficult to take good photos and they definitely do not do the city justice.
We passed the “mascot” of the boat tour, a dog named Fidel and this photo of him is courtesy of Alex.
After the boat ride we had lunch and then went to the Choco-Story Museum which provided an extensive history of chocolate. A surprisingly good museum that traced the history of chocolate (or more accurately the cocoa bean) from 2000 BC, though more detailed history stared with the Aztecs in the 1500s.
We then went on a bus tour of the city which we enjoyed, an audio guide was provided so we heard a more detailed history of the city. I didn’t realize that the city was a favorite of Philip the Bold in the 1400s but when he died it fell out of favor and the royal court relocated which began the city’s slow decline. It wasn’t until 1892 that the city rediscovered itself and emphasized its history and architecture leading to its recognition as a World Heritage site.
While we spent two nights in Bruges, we could have easily spent many more even though it is a relatively small city. The first night of any of our travels means the day is spent traveling and when we arrive at a location it is typically later in the day so we don’t have much time to see anything. Next trip we’ll implement a three night minimum stay so we make sure to have at least two full day to explore our surroundings.
Next trip I’d like to explore more of Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Each country has many sites to see and they are small and compact areas which greatly reduces travel time. Ghent, for example, is supposed to be a wonderful city and it is only a 30 minute train ride from Bruges and Brussels. Next stop, England.