Venice of the North

October 25, 2009

Around 80 km Northwest of the town of Poperinge and only 14 km from the North Sea lies the 12th century city, Brugge. It was one of the most remarkable places I have ever visited. Its name comes from old Norse and simply means port, hence why it has always had such historical significance. Quickly, it grew in prominence with its large lace fabric, wool, and chocolate trade. The whole city is covered in cobblestone and the architecture is distinctly Flemish Low Land.

We were so lucky to have great weather on the Sunday afternoon because the best way to explore the city is through its canals on a small motorboat. For only 6 Euros, a guide took my roommate, his girl friend, and I on a tour and it was remarkable to learn how ancient some of the city’s groundwork is.

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My roomate holding his grandfather’s WWI rifle. It is particularly short because he was a calvary man and it had to be light so that he could shoot while on the move. During the war he was shot, and the Germans robbed him of all his valuables.

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Saint Salvator’s Cathedral

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Typical Low Lands architecture – stepped roofs and ornate facades.

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Simon Stevin – famous Flemish mathematician and engineer.

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The Market Square

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The back of the Market Square with the flags displayed

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The Belfry is the cities prominent bell tower and used to serve as a watchtower to spot incoming attacks.

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Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck. Two important Flemish freedom fighters who defended Flanders from the French in the 14th century.

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The Burg Square

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The oldest bridge in Brugges from the 13th century.

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View of the homes and store fronts from the water.

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The canal way with the Church of Our Lady in the background.

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Church of Our Lady tower

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A very picturesque canal scene

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Brugge has 100 beautiful, large, white geese.

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If you look carefully to the top right of the second window, you will see the smallest Gothic window in Brugge.

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The Belfry from the canal

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Trappist Westvleterrn – rated the best beer in Belgium. Brewed by real monks and only available at their Abby in the middle of nowhere. The beer is deliciously refreshing and is surprisingly 12%. In Belgium, monks either brew beer or make cheese.

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