Our Christmas destination in 2014 was Belgium. Actually, we planned to go to Spain, but since we could not get plain tickets for Spain, we had to choose Belgium or Denmark. As we wanted to go somewhere “warmer” we decided to go to Belgium. 🙂

Well, OK, it’s obvious that it’s quite hard to tell which of two is warmer around Christmas. 🙂 Anyways, as we mentioned to our friends that we are going to Belgium, all off them said “Oh, have you seen the movie “In Bruges” with Colin Farrel?

We checked the movie just two days before going to Belgium, and after that we simply decided that we’ll visit Bruges. We got up early that day, and caught a first train from Brussels to Bruges.


Beguines and Flemish Béguinages

We arrived three minutes before 10 AM, and I wanted to pick up a city map from the info point. There is a scene in the movie where a guy selling tickets for the Bruges tower repeats in a very stubborn way “five euros” and does not allow any further communication with Colin. Same thing happened with us. Lady was locked behind the glass doors, 2 minutes before 10AM looking through the window, doing nothing, but not letting us in the information centre, since it’s not working yet. Finally, at 10.01 she opened the doors, and like nothing happened gave me the map and instructions.

Bruges is one of the places that is called “The Venice of the North”, mostly due to a network of canals which permeate the whole place and connect it with the North sea. One of the canals is on the entrance of our first stop.


It was Flemish Beguinage that was founded in 1245. Beguinage is a specially organized housing plan where houses are forming a full circle with the garden in the middle. It was specially designed and usually located outside of towns where women lived like regular nuns, but the were actually not, as they had different religious believes. Those places were intentionally moved outside of towns to secure peace and silence inside the Beguinage, and people are instructed to walk in silence around the gardens.

This is one of the oldest Beguinages in the world, and it’s listed as a world heritage site by Unesco.

You can read more about Beguinage here.

When you exit Beguinage you will definitely stop on the small bridge across the river to take a similar photo on your right.


But, because of that you might miss this lovely modern nun that is located on the roof window of the local pub just in front of it. 🙂 I guess that’s why people say that Belgian humor is weird. 🙂


Beer and Chocolate

Belgium is famous for a few things and it depends of your personal preference what will you notice first. It’s a country with most types of beer and small beer shops in the world.


And a country with most types of chocolate and chocolate specialized shops in the world.


Bruges is nothing different and it’s quite hard to avoid them while you walk along it’s lovely narrow streets.


Or in between the lovely small houses that look like they are from a fairy tale.


Churches, Belfry and weird expensive sculptures

There are several things to see in Bruges. Among them are the tower of the Church of Our Lady, that is second tallest brick tower in the world with 122.3 meters, and it’s lovely stain glasses.


On the main square there’s Belfry of Bruges or Belfort, bell tower with 366 stairs to the top. I bet that the view from above is magnificent, but the line to climb it was so long that we were supposed to wait 2-3 hours in line. Since days are not that long in winter, we decided to skip it.


Grote Markt or Main Square is gorgeous and during Christmas it holds Christmas market and ice rink.

Since it was really cold that day, we needed to sit somewhere and warm up, so we decided to have mulled wine on the Grote Markt. Well, wine was good and restaurant where we sat down was lovely, warm and with an open fireplace, but we paid 14 euros for two wines. Just in front of the restaurant, on the Christmas market we could buy one glass for 2.5 Euros. 😀 I guess that’s the service + heating price included. 🙂


After “breakfast” we continued our walk along many more chocolateries and some of them had really special kinds to sell. Yep, sandals, beers and male organs. You can get it all.


Just behind one of the chocolateries there’s a port where canal boat excursions can be taken. Besides incredible cold that day, there was even bigger waiting line than the one to climb the tower, so we skipped that one too.


We decided to check the rest of the place where there’s “nothing special” to see. In one of the shops we saw these lovely dogs, but it was obviously some “art” store since prices for dust collecting toys were incredible. This red one is just €499!


Our tour led us to the town entrance where the modern concert hall is located. As you can see it’s totally different than anything else in this town. 🙂


We did what we planed to, we tasted beers and different kind of chocolates in Bruges and it was high time to leave.

Since in Croatian language we don’t call Brussels sprouts as such, but we have different word that sounds more like “mini kale”, I was quite confused with English version of the word. However, on the way from Brussels to Bruges and back I’ve seen them for the first time. Similar to large fields of tulips in Netherlands, Belgium is covered with large fields of Brussels sprouts. 🙂


And with that thought, I’m finishing this old travel story from Belgium.

Bruges is really lovely and worth seeing, but as Colin Farrel says in the movie – there’s nothing much to do than to walk around for a few hours and leave. 🙂

Still, I’d love to see it again in spring time when sky will be blue and trees green, if nothing to replace these sad photos with more vivid ones. 🙂

Till some next post.



By adminko

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