Visiting Bruges is like traveling back to medieval times. We lucked out and had a beautiful, sunny day and prepared for the very cold weather. It was so nice to return to this charming town known for its cobbled streets, numerous, picturesque canals, and remarkable buildings from the 1300’s and 1400’s found in the market square and down many a narrow lane. Click on smaller pictures to enlarge them.
I have fond memories of a canal boat ride I took here with my parents, and son in June of 1994 and had hoped for one on this visit but alas, the canals were filled with ice. This UNESCO World Heritage Centre is also well known for its lace making and lace making school and beautiful pieces that can be found in many shops. There are also lots of chocolate shops and ones that offer products made of machine woven tapestries. We stopped at De Vier Winden (The Four Winds) on the Markt Square, ordered one of the daily menu specials and enjoyed Cheese Kroquettes, Belgian beef stew, red wine and Crème brûlée. All were absolutely delicious and perfect for a cold wintry day!
It was amazing to visit the Bruges Notre Dame Cathedral and see Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, the only one of his statues to have left Italy during his life time. If you saw the movie Monuments Men, you may know a little about it.
From the article “These Incredible Works Of Art Were Saved By The Real-Life ‘Monuments Men’ Of WWII”
“The Monuments Men arrived just days after the Nazi’s had stolen this two-ton marble Madonna and Child sculpture from the Bruges Notre Dame Cathedrale in Belgium. Michelangelo’s statue was later recovered in the ancient Steinberg salt mine in Altaussee — one of the many underground hiding places used by Hitler and the Nazis to stash art — by the Monuments Men..”
It was a wonderful day and we were glad we decided on First Class train travel. The round trip only took about an hour and at 13 euros round trip, it was cheaper than parking would have cost. It was nice to sit back and let someone else do the driving!