Bruges is one of the best medieval cities in all of Belgium, if not Europe. Known as the Venice of the North because of its canals, Bruges is both charming and graceful.
Little did I know that while on a day trip from the bustling city of Brussels that I would fall instantly in love with the city of Bruges. Little did I know that such a medieval wonder awaited me just an hour away from Brussels in the Flanders region of Belgium.
My love of the city, that's called the Venice of the North because of its many canals, spans years. Always hoping to get back to the place where I left my heart. I didn't know then, as I do now, that the entire City Center is a UNESCO site.
When I see the city of Bruges in movies like In Bruges (starring Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes), I fall head over heels in love again. I just remember visiting the Basilica of the Holy Blood with its Romanesque and Gothic architecture. I also remember craning my neck to see the 122-meter high tower of the Church of Our Lady on the Market Square, and finding out that Charles the Bold and Marie of Burgundy are buried here.
Another medieval masterpiece is the Beguinage House & Museum. This Benedictine Order has been around since the mid-13th century.
Of course, this is modern times--and not everything in Bruges is medieval. It certainly is a museum loving place though. In addition to the Picasso Expo at the Hospital of St. John, there's the Medieval & Modern Art Museum; a Brewery Museum; a Diamond Museum (Bruges is one of the oldest diamond centers); a Folklore Museum; a Chocolate Museum; and the Frietmuseum--which is dedicated to the famous Belgian Fries.
OK, as much as I do love Bruges--I can't grasp the fact of eating fries with mayonaise.
Whether you eat fries with or without mayo, you'll walk off the calories by walking. The canals of Bruges are the prettiest part of the city--and with so many houses built right along the water's edge it's easy to see why it's called the Venice of the North.
Look, a lace shop...yes, in addition to everything else the city of Bruges is famous for its lace too. Make sure you bring your mother/sister/grandmother something frilly back. Bring some back for me too, will ya? Nevermind, I'll use the lace as as an excuse to go back.