Candy and the Holy Blood

Brugge Travel Blog

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Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal

I just returned from my daytrip to Brugge yesterday evening and decided to write about it instantly. 

*** Please excuse the crappy pictures. My real camera is still broke after the Japan trip and so I had to take pictures with this idiot phone of mine. The images turned out so bad that I set most of them to black and white to hide the horrible colours. Just imagine things to be a 100 times more pretty in real life, ok? Otherwise this is bad advertising for my country ;) ***

First of all I want to write that if you're a tourist visiting Belgium, especially if you come from outside Western Europe, don't let anyone tell you to skip Brugge. I know many people say this place has little charm, is overly touristy, way too crowded,.

Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal (I have this strange habit where I make portraits of statues and figures in paintings. I guess it helps me focus on the details better).
.. And guess what, it's absolutely true. I don't really recommend spending more than one day here, and I don't even recommend spending the night. Brugge makes a perfect day trip from Gent, Antwerp or Brussels and even from places a little further out, like Leuven (my hometown). All these places will have cheaper accommodation, cheaper and better places to eat (in general) and a more vivid nightlife/atmosphere ones the shops close their doors. That said: don't. skip. Brugge. All together.

Why not? Well, like most overly touristy places, it draws visitors for a reason. Yes, it might be little more than an open air museum filled with souvenir and chocolate shops but... it's still a very nice open air museum indeed. There are some really nice museums, the charming beguinage, wonderful churches, classic cobblestone streets and the architecture all around is just stunningly antique.

The Belfort (or more like, the patio next to it)

The center is mostly car free but that doesn't make it quiet. Instead of cars, the center is stuffed with tourists, horse drawn carriages (that carry tourists) and shops. I haven't been to any place in Belgium that has so many chocolatiers! Pretty much every brand is represented here, from the very mainstream ones like Leonidas (still very good, though), Galler (that also sells most of it's products in supermarkets) over more up market ones like Godiva and Neuhaus, to stand out classics such as Dominique Persoone. All those brand stores come hidden between local sellers, coffee houses and vendors of other delicatessen like nougat, speculoos, cookies and patisserie. Last but not least, there are plenty of other shops in Brugge. I really liked the branches of Dille and Kamile (housewares), L'Occitane en Provence (body and beauty products) and La Cure Gourmande (one of my favorite French confiseries that sells delicious cookies, candies and beautiful tin boxes (I have a bit of an addiction to buying retro tin boxes - and sweets for that matter)).

Doesn't this look like October to you? It does, right? Because it was f****** September. The very start of September! My God we had the worst summer ever this year!
All of these brands don't have any stores in my hometown, so I bought a lot of stuff ^^ After all I'm not a "real" tourist so I didn't have to limit myself to buying Belgian stuff only ;)

The two main shopping streets of Brugge depart at 't Zand and run all the way to the main square, but the touristy streets in the old center all have some nice things on offer, even though not for the cheapest prices.

Sightseeing-wise, for me (but I really didn't visit everything there is to see in Brugge), the Basilica of the holy blood and the Sint-Salvatorskathedral really stood out.

In the Sint-Salvator kathedraal (I don't know how to translate Saint "Salvator" to English) I loved the small museum (free!) because the visit takes you through some charming rooms around the cloister and the place has some really nice paintings on offer.

The basilica of the Holy Blood

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is absolutely stunning, interior wise, and I loved the atmosphere. Moreover, you get the change to worship the Holy Blood relic (check the timings in advance). Regardless whether you believe in the New Testament, the relic or just in general, I found it a unique and even emotional experience. I can't believe it took me nearly 29 years to finally go and touch it! Especially since it's been on my to do list for so long.

Other places that I popped in were the Town hall (it's nice but maybe a little expensive, since you can visit only one room), the Onze Lieve Vrouw church (under construction at the time of writing (yay, that sounds SO Lonely Planet, I always wanted to use that phrase. It houses Michelangelo's Madonna and Child and a small collection of Flemish paintings but.

The town hall
.. the interior isn't nice and if I would have had to pay the full entrance price (because of the renovations there is a reduction) I'd have skipped it. 6 EUR is a lot... I mean... Pay double and you can go see the Louvre, you'll get to see a lot more Flemish primitives and Michelango's there!). I also walked through the beguinage and just all around the streets and squares. I've climbed the Belort as a child (it was my only memory of Brugge before revisiting properly as an adult) so I skipped it this time, and I didn't feel like museum strolling so I didn't do any of those. There a Dali Exhibition on the main square that must be great too, if you like Dali (but I don't).

So to summarize: unless you want to see every painting in every museum in Brugge, make it a day trip.

Inside the town hall there's a painting depicting the Holy Blood being brought back from the Crusades. Yes of course, we stole it from Jerusalem. It's the only thing about the whole thing I don't like so much :/
The historical part of town is really small so if you want to visit only a few places, stroll around, shop for chocolate and drink beers on a terrace, than one day will absolutely do. However I do recommend going there. You see... I live in Belgium. I'm so used to the old streets, the merchant houses, the cobblestones AND the chocolate. And even I still liked it. Even I spent way too much money on sweets. So I think you will, too ;)

Im_a_local says:
I have been lots of times good and bad weather, my friend Nele lives in Roeselare. She has just recently visited Efteling with her grandchildren so I am waiting to hear all about it but I think they had good weather :)
Posted on: Sep 07, 2014
Pearl510 says:
Yay :) I'm always happy to hear someone likes my country! Especially because we can have the most crappy weather ever, and then I always feel sorry for the tourists :/ Rain is never fun but it is even less fun when you're on a holiday so I hope you had nice weather when you visited Brugge :)
Posted on: Sep 07, 2014
Im_a_local says:
I have to admit I love Bruge, not just for the chocolates or the fries with mayo but they are pretty good too :)
Posted on: Sep 07, 2014
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Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraa…
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedra…
The Belfort (or more like, the pat…
The Belfort (or more like, the pa…
Doesnt this look like October to …
Doesn't this look like October to…
The basilica of the Holy Blood
The basilica of the Holy Blood
The town hall
The town hall
Inside the town hall theres a pai…
Inside the town hall there's a pa…
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraa…
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedra…
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraa…
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedra…
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Inside the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal
Square in front of the town hall
Square in front of the town hall
The town hall
The town hall
Tourist queuing to buy french fri…
Tourist queuing to buy "french fr…
The Belfort
The Belfort
Main square
Main square
Main square
Main square
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw church (and Miche…
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw church (and Mich…
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw church
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw church
The basilica of the Holy Blood
The basilica of the Holy Blood
Inside the Town Hall
Inside the Town Hall
Old cars!
Old cars!
Couldnt resist and dont be foole…
Couldn't resist and don't be fool…
Brugge
photo by: Chokk