To Bruges and Knokke

Brugge Travel Blog

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Minnewater
This week I made some small trips to various towns in Belgium by train. For the budget minded traveller it can be a good idea to plan a trip where you need to change trains in an interesting location, that way I could visit, for example Bruges and Knokke, or Namur and Dinant ton the same day with only one ticket instead of two.

Bruges
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.
tourist boats racing along the canals
I did not hear a single person speak in the typical Bruges accent (they pronounce “brugge” as “bruhhu”)
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.
me in the begijnhof
Bruges became a much smaller town and only regained economic importance in the 20th century with the digging of a canal to connect Bruges to the North Sea again (finally) and the creation of the port of zeebrugge (sea-bruges)

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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Minnewater
Minnewater
tourist boats racing along the can…
tourist boats racing along the ca…
me in the begijnhof
me in the begijnhof
Sculpture by Michelangelo, the onl…
Sculpture by Michelangelo, the on…
A flemish train station (here brug…
A flemish train station (here bru…
Belfry
Belfry
doh!
d'oh!
Tourist MADNESS
Tourist MADNESS
typical post card pic of bruges
typical post card pic of bruges
Begijnhof
Begijnhof
Those trees just make every pictur…
Those trees just make every pictu…
Brugge
photo by: Chokk