Slightly different format this time. You’ll see why, but don’t intend to make a habit of it except in similar situations.
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Our first port of call for the day was to be the famous tower of Brugge. It features heavily in the movie, and the view from the top is meant to be a must see.
The tower was very close to the hotel, perhaps a minutes walk. We had taken our time getting ready for the day, enjoying the breakfast that came with the room and so forth, and we were expecting queues when we got there. As is becoming a bit of a reoccurring theme for my trip however, we just walked straight in.
The way to the top of the tower is really narrow. At one point I had to turn sideways to get up. I mean, it's all windy stairs. I'm not being funny. They twist and turn, changing direction and unaligning themselves from the stairs below multiple times. I can’t really imagine why the stairs are so odd, because it seemed as if the tower was all built at the same time. One expects repairs during the tower’s long life to create some variability of course, but this went well beyond what can be explained by that. I’d go so far as to say they were the oddest stairs I’ve ever seen! :D
At several points during your ascent, rooms split off where you can see a variety of interesting things. One room served as a former treasure horde, while another housed a gigantic bell, and the last room before the top contained a massive array of clockwork. Unfortunately, the objects were all behind perspex, so the quality of the photos is pretty variable.
Before that day, I’d heard two sets of accents from my neck of the woods besides my own and Kelly’s, the couple in the Louvre and the Australians the day before. That day I swear there must have been a cabal of Australians meeting in the tower. They staggered their leaving times, and only left in ones and twos of course, but I’m onto them. Paramedics protect me tonight please.
The view from the top was certainly worth the climb. You can see far beyond the edges of the city, and I’m sure much further on a clear day.
Brugge laid out below
Unfortunately, two thirds of the tower top were walled off. Maintenance was presumably being carried out, and it was a disappointment not to be able to appreciate the full panoramic view. The tourist offseason had struck again. Also a grill had been installed (since er… the movie), which I had to fit my camera through to take photos, but greatly hampered the viewing experience. Oh well.
The next stop was to be the nearby Salvador Dali exhibition that I’d spotted the previous day. Cost 8 euro to get in, but was completely worth it. Inside was a vast array of Dali prints, videos, sculptures and so forth. The gallery didn’t contain any of his more famous pieces, nor many originals to my knowledge, but it really conveyed unique he was as an artist, and as a person.
I took as many shots as I could, but many did not turn out well, as I was without the use of my flash and the pictures were not lit well for taking pictures.
The rest of my time in Brugge mainly consisted of walking around the city, seeing what I could see.
The canals were all frozen over, which had two unfortunate side effects. First, some rubbish collected on the surface, which although very minor, marred the otherwise picturesque scenery. Second, the ice had forced all the canal tours to close. I was pretty disappointed about this in particular, I’d been really looking forward to taking a boat tour around the city. I hear it’s really magical. Did my best to make up for it by seeing as much as I could on foot. The canals, the bridges, the way the buildings came straight out of the canal… I really loved it, it looks amazingly beautiful.
A frozen over canal, I just had to stop and stare sometimes
After we spotted a sign pointing to a ‘cat museum’, we were naturally intrigued, and did our best to find this mythical place. In the end, the place eluded us. My feeling is that it likely only appears once a month, during the new moon. At other times, it lurks in the otherword, waiting for its chance to feed once again.
After the cat museum detour, we stopped in a local pub to sample some of the fine brews that Brugge had to offer. Some excellent drops, all told. I have a real taste for fine beer I’ve found, and I love the intricate and subtle flavours of these Belgian beers… My only regret is that I lack the terminology to describe any of them.
The brewery was unfortunately closed, but that was somewhat made up for by Kelly’s introduction to me of the ‘pasta cup’. Essentially a box of pasta loaded up with sauce and more grated parmesan than I’ve ever seen in one place, for about 3 or 4 euros. Very tasty, very filling and well worth the price. I caught myself thinking they’d be great in New Zealand before I realised the cheese back home was rather lacking. We have great dairy products generally (dare I say the world’s best), but everything must be pasteurized… so our cheese is extremely sub-par.
So that sums up my weekend in Brugge really. Amazing place, lovely buildings, a fairy tale town. Such an absolute pity I’d come at the wrong time of year for the place. The entire weekend was full of things which I recognised would be fantastic to do or magnificent to see, but were closed or boarded up for maintenance during the untourist season. Such a shame.
+ Show Spoiler [Lots of Bruggian images] +
I feel the images are mostly pretty self explanitory, but feel free to ask for me to tag any or all.
Click here for the next installment, once I’ve finished it.
Off to Luxembourg tomorrow morning. See you all when I get back. Lagging seriously behind I know.