To Bruges and Knokke
Brugge Travel Blog› entry 10 of 17 › view all entries
May 22nd, 2009 – by: lamadude
Bruges (Brugge) is the capital of my home province of West-Vlaanderen, and the most popular tourist destination in Belgium. The recent movie “in Bruges” made it an even more popular destination. These elements, combined with the pleasant spring weather, where the reason that the town was totally packed with tourists. The city was completely overtaken by visitors, mostly British, French and German.
Brugge was at its height the most important port of Northern Europe and was very active in trade with the Italian cities especially. It was one of the four “Kontors” of the Hanseatic League, and one of the main capital cities of Burgundy under Philips the Good. (The Burgundian court was always on the move, but was most often to be found in Bruges, Brussels or Lille) The centralization of trade and the distances involved led to some major inventions and innovations in the banking sector, back when it was still based on actual goods and golden coins rather then repackaged worthless debt.
However, when the river “het Zwin” connecting Bruges to the sea disappeared Bruges’ decline started and its role as a centre for European trade shifted towards Antwerp.
Today Brugge is a beautiful, if slightly too touristy, city. Some people say that it's just one big "open air museum" but if you walk around in it in the evening, when all the tourists are gone you will really be able to feel like you're reliving history and meet some Bruges locals (they exist ;) Just don't waste all your money on chocolate and lace when you go there :-)
After visiting Bruges we hopped on the train to Knokke...
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