Canals/ Boats / Bridges., Brugge
The canals in Brugge are now mainly used for pleasure boats and tourist boats, but in earlier times Brugge had direct access to the sea and was a major commercial seaport.
According to the website www.brugge.be, the early medieval port of Bruges was accessible from the sea until around 1050, when the natural link between Bruges and the sea silted up.
A storm flood in the year 1134 created a new deep channel called the Zwin, which remained open until the fifteenth century.
In the sixteenth century the Zwin also silted up, so ocean-going ships docked elsewhere, for instance in Antwerp. This was bad for the economy of Brugge but good for the preservation of the medieval town center.
According to the same website: “Around 1850 Bruges was the poorest city in the country. The middle classes spoke French, the illiterate people only knew their local dialect. French was decreed to be the official language for public life in 1885.“
(This is no longer true. Today the only official language in Flanders is Dutch.)
I find it interesting that on this website they list the publication of Bruges-la-Morte as a major event in the history of the city:
“In European literature Bruges was made famous by the French language novel Bruges la Morte by Georges Rodenbach (1892). The book describes Bruges as a sleeping, dead, but mysterious city. When Bruges la Morte appeared, Bruges had just begun some ambitious new projects. The new sea-port, inaugurated in 1907 in Zeebrugge, did not achieve full prosperity until the last quarter of the twentieth century. “
The canal in my photo is the Coupure, near Jef Claerhout’s Marieke statue.
Location of Coupure on OpenStreetMap
Next: Historic buildings
The oldest existing bridge in Brugges is at the western end of Spaase Loskaai.
Known as the Augustijnenberg, it dates from 1391. There are three arches, and 'benches' cut into the sides: these were for Medieval pedlars to display their wares.
The monks built the bridge from their nearby monastery (no longer visible) so they could more easily get into the town.
I can't guarantee you'll see a man on a penny-farthing bicicyle though!
OK, don't rate this... enlarge the picture, instead.
This is what I imagine of the Brugge of comic strips !
Everything is there: the ancient architecture, the canals, l'heure bleue and already the lights... Sure, a software helps but I love this effect.
I took this picture just before Gillian and I got lost. The other Vters turned somewhere right. I had the memory of having seen Caroline walking on the bridge (she is the landmark, being really tall, you can spot her easily) but I was not sure. It was just a fraction of a second before I snapped this and followed our path up to the bridge. Be reassured, the other Vters tracked back and joined us at the bridge... from our right. :-) we were not lost, just partially lost. ;-)
What can I say ? With this semi-darkness and the crowd around, you easily lose sight of your companions in Brugge...
Not to be outdone by a mere stone bear, the swans of Bruges have a folklore attached to them too.
It goes like this.. in 1488 the folks of Bruges executed one of their town administrators who was nicknamed 'Pieter Lanchals' (long neck). And it so happened that the administrator had a family coat of arms which featured a white swan. So what did this man do before he died? He punished Bruges by obliging the whole population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity!
Well, believe it or not, those birds are still there and they lend a serene appeal to Minnewater.
De "Lamme Goedzak", een boot die door een rad aangedreven wordt, vaart van het historisch Brugge naar het lieflijke Damme. Een halfuurtje genieten van het unieke polderlandschap om dan Damme te ontdekken.
Aboard the barge ?Lamme Goedzak? you sail from Bruges to the picturesque town of Damme. The trip takes you through a peaceful polder landscape. Damme, the town of Uilenspiegel offers you a wide range of culture and gastronomy.
The ?Old Piper?, a 1928 paddle boat can take you for a trip on the Bruges-Ghent canal. The ship has a capacity of 160 passengers (70 persons on the inner deck and 90 on the sun deck) and can be hired by groups, associations and companies. It is also possible to book meals and musical entertainment on board.
On feet or at a bicycle... don't keep in the very touristic centre but try to discover the adjuncted streets and canals. They are so lovely and you will be glad to be out of the rush for a few moments
in function of Brugge 2002 as European town they had build a modern new bridge
and at the end of the bridge is a case in glass with a wooden man inside, in pieced hold with fine cables. It goes up and down very slowly every 15 minutes. It is nice to see it moving. We were there just the moment it moved.
Visit the canals of Brugge. Beautiful views here. When going in a boat: the trip is 30 mins, but the boat goes a bit too fast :o( The costs are 5,20 EURO each. The main point to get on a boat is at 'Dijver': walk from Grote Markt to the Wollestreet and take a right turn.
You also might want to visit 'Boudewijn Park' this parc is open every day from 10.00 till 17.00. It's a bit at the edge of Brugge (south west direction). You can easily get here by taking the bus from busstation 't Zand. The busnumber is no 17. Boudewijn parc is nice to go to when you have young kids. Costs: 15 EURO each and then you can get to the Dolfin Show as well. If you only want to go to the dolphin show the costs are 8 EURO each. The dolphin show starts at 11.00 and at 15.30. Remember to be in time otherwise you will have to wait till the next show.
When Rose (Rozehill) was visiting we hired a bicycle, a tandem, and we cycled all around Bruges.
Here we saw a boat named after Diamonddog's real name so we thought we should put this on picture!
strange to see it moving up and down every 15 minutes
The wooden man is related to the new bridge behind.
Take a walk along The Speigelrei from Jan van Eyckplaats to the Potterei. This is such a quiet area of town now, but it was once Brugge's busy harbour!
This is looking towards Jan van Eyckplaats.