R and I decided to take a short break in Bruges, in the north of Belgium, just after the New Year. It’s a very popular tourist town well known for its historic architecture, although I seem to recall we actually decided to go to Belgium mainly because we’d been watching Poirot DVDs.


We travelled there by train and arrived in the afternoon. The railway station is just outside the central part of Bruges, which is ringed by canals, so it wasn’t long before we crossed a canal on our walk into town.

This was actually the second canal we crossed. But a very picturesque one.
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Side of nice building with shadow and slit windows.
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After finding our hotel and checking in, we took another walk around part of the old town in the evening.

Corner of the cathedral.
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Side of building by a canal bridge.
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Nicely lit building over canal.
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Lights by bridge.
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Entrance archway and corridor.
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Railing shadows in car headlights.
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Central staircase in hotel.
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We visited the ‘Historium’, which is an exhibition in a nice old building on the market square. They lead you through a number of rooms with video clips telling a story set in medieval Bruges.

You can look out over the market square from a balcony.
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Quite a nice staircase window.
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We walked through the town a little before visiting an art gallery in the afternoon.

Mixture of buildings near the market square.
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Shop window. (Probably a chocolate shop? They weren’t selling caravans or pigs, anyhow.)
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Building having some work done.
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Part of the Groeningemuseum (art gallery) complex.
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After the gallery we walked around a little more.

Canalside buildings.
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Nice blue-painted doors (and fancy doorbell).
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Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouw).
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Nice sculpture by entrance to Sint-Janshospitaalpark.
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Bridge over road (Zonnekemeers).
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Nice house sign, and crack.
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Old church (for sale, I think).
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The small hotel we stayed in (Hotel Van Eyck) wasn’t particularly expensive, but it was very central.

View of the Belfort (in market square) from the window of our room.
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The hotel room also had quite interesting decor.
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We set off right after breakfast to visit the Belfort (belfry), the tallest building in the market square. There was a queue to get in, but it was much worse later in the day when we left!

The Belfort is kind of a ridiculous building. Definitely a high point of the visit for me (pun intended).

Face in nice sunlight on a lower floor.
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Brick roof arches.
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Shadow portrait of R and myself.
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Nice oval window-opening.
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Looking up at bells in the very top. (They play tunes, using a mechanism on the floor below.)
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Bell View.
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Looking north toward Zeebrugge.
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Topmost flight of wooden stairs (1).
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Wooden stairs (2).
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Interesting pipes.
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Brick stairs lower down.
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Looking out from stairwell down to exhibition display (and R).
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Gates to treasure chest.
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After leaving the Belfort, we took a walk around some of the city’s canals.

Nice street corner.
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Buildings near Jan van Eyckplein.
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Streetlamp shadow, Langerei.
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Canal reflections, Langerei.
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Lifting bridge, Langerei.
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View down side alley, Langerei.
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Swing bridge, Wulpenstraat.
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The canal along the east of Bruges is used commercially with barges carrying goods (and we did see one). It also has several windmills.

The northern windmill Koeleweimolen.
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Another windmill, Sint-Janshuismolen.
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Further view of same windmill.
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Jeruzalemkerk (a church).
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After this we went to see the folklore museum, which was interesting - basically full of random stuff in themed rooms, like one about school, for instance. We also got there just in time to see the end of a traditional sweet-making demonstration.

We walked a little more of the canal circuit on our way back into town.

Statue (of the Virgin Mary) in alcove, Rolweg.
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Bonne Chierèmolen (the fourth windmill).
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Nice chimney and trees.
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Chimney with factory roofs (and vapour trail).
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Main canal and outer ring road, with trees.
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Another nice chimney, with star.
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Reflected windows, Groenerei.
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Belfort and central statue (and moon), Markt.
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Posts in canal and decorations on roof, canal junction, Langestraat.
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Church of Our Lady (tower).
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Steps down to a place offering boat trips.
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On Friday we had to leave, but we walked a bit more around the southern area nearer the railway station.

Side street, garage.
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Steps beside the Powder Tower.
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Canal footbridge near Minnewater Park.
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Bird 1, #Lilou (no, I don't know what it is).
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Birds 2, some swans.
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Concrete posts by...
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...a large mock-medieval water tower.
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Gentpoort, one of the (genuinely) medieval city gates.
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Heilige-Magdalenakerk (church).
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Chocolate shop window display.
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Minnewater (lake).
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That’s all! Bruges was a lovely place to visit and we didn’t see everything. And yes we did eat plenty of waffles, which were very nice.

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.