We took a one hour train ride to Bruges (or Brugges if you are Dutch) today. Although somewhat crowded in places, it was one of the quaintest villages we have ever seen. Its one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world, with its unique architecture, that has many distinctive buildings but a lot of it “brick gothic.” Some of the buildings go back to the 1200’s but many buildings have dates from the 1600’s.
Public squares, parks, canals, boat rides and beautiful shops abound. And, as you might expect, there are many, many Belgium chocolate shops and Belgium waffle vendors. We stuck with the chocolate and the local gelato.
Besides the crowded places, where many of the restaurants and shops are, there are many beautiful streets that are quiet and offer opportunities to slowly walk by and appreciate individual details.
There is some renovation work going on, for example, the Saint Salvator Cathedral that has a magnificent one-of-a-kind organ but is mostly a place undergoing extensive restoration. One of the leading shopping streets is getting an all new grey granite cobblestone surface, which right now makes it difficult to navigate.
This is a great spot for a one day visit. It is fairly small and compact, and it is hard to believe the claim that it once was considered the “chief commercial place in the world.”
There are frequent trains between Brussels and Bruges. Our late day train ride back was particularly enjoyable as we sat, talked and laughed with two European couples, one from Auvergne, France, and the other from Munich, Germany. We hated to see the train ride end.
And, we learned about a secret rental the French couple offer in central France (Auvergne) not far from Lyon. It is a gorgeous stone house that we might have to consider next time.