Here is (roughly) the view you have from the spot mentioned in the previous tip (although I must admit I got off the bench to frame this shot).
In front of you is the magnificent Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk (Chuch Of Our Lady) - which at 122 meters, and with a difference of only 1 meter, is the second highest church in Belgium. The statue in the front is one of the "Riders of the Apocalyps" statues by Rik Poot (there are a few of them on this little square).
Pretty much the same tip as the one above : some sidestreets, while not tiny alleys are really lovely.
Pictured here is just a random one : Peerdenstraat, a sidestreet of the Hoogstraat (one of Brugges main streets, starts at the central "Burg" square, when you're facing the town hall it's on your left.
Bring a map and don't worry about getting lost or wandering off into unsafe areas. Just venture off the beaten path - make a left or right when you're in the middle of a busy street - Brugge is a small town with many small alleys and narrow streets. Naturally, these don't have any shops or landmarks, so they're virtually tourist-free. Some offer really wonderful sights - glimpses of the cities lovingly restored houses, lanterns, and so on. Not every alley is equally aesthetic, but overall you will not be disappointed.
Just off the beathen path we found this fountain. The swan is a symbol for Bruges. It is a story about the inhabitants of Bruges who had to take care of swans for punishments.
But the thing we want to talk about is the SPQB. SPQR is an expression used in Rome for over 2000 years. It means Senatus PopulusQue Romanus, the roman senate and the roman people. SPQB thus means the senate and people of Bruges.
But where did it come from, was it roman influence from the time the romans ruled here? Or is it just that Bruges wants to be as a big as Rome? Judging to the date on the fountain (1857) it must be the second option.
I thoroughly recommend following the narrow alleyways and cobbled streets, losing the map and following where your feet take you, when in Brugge. We have now been to Brugge three times - and each time we find more treasures hidden down side streets away from the main square.
Some of the most beautiful architecture is to be found when the streets are quieter in the evenings and you haven't to be anywhere in a hurry. Just wander, relax and enjoy...
A Godshuis was built by rich people for the poor. That way they were freed from their sins (at least that is what the church told them).
The houses are very small as they are ment to be for the poor people who do not need much........ They are always placed in groups.
This is Godhuis Wevershof. It is just outside the busy area, not too far from St Jans hospital.
This godshuis was bought by the city in 1924.
This is Oostmeers. A quiet, narrow street that winds its way from the train station area towards the central part of town. A delightful little street, but quite tame as compared to what you will be seeing in the city center.
The first indication that this is a special place is the park area just inside the ringroad and just a few hundred meters northeast of the train station. Exiting the train station, everything looks all a bustle and there is the usual traffic with spedding automobiles and lumbering trucks. However, as soon as you cross the busy road and pass beyond the fortification of bushes and trees, the magic of Brugge begins.
In this street you will find the Folklore museum. I accidentaly arrived here when Rose (Rozehill) and I were cycling around.
I thought the colours of the fronts were so beautiful that I couldn't restist taking a picture!
Relaxing just simply taking a break from all
the hussle and bussle in old town Brugge.
We found this beautiful courtyard with some well needed benches in one of the Brugge museums ,or maybe just a big house.(don't know the name)
the Godshuizen are the god houses - a medievalf form of social care. You can find them all over the town and you can recognise them by their distinctive simple architecture and by the year of foundation written outside.
These houses were 'Houses for the poor and the needy' built from the 14th century onwards by rich families - or even corporations. They used to provide a safe home for poor people and widowns. Sometimes the people's generosity stretched even further than just providing a place to live - and food and basic health care were also given to its inhabitants.
Please take time to wander down some of the little side street and alleys as there are some very pretty houses, flora displays and decorative wrought iron work. Most of the houses have a strong dutch influence in their style. The picture shows a pair of elaborate wrough iron gates belong to one house we stumbled across whilst wandering around in the evening.
Visit the Botlle shop.
Are you looking for a special gift or souvenir?
At the bottle shop you will find:
- 500 beers and 300 waters in exclusive wrappings;
- pints and pottery;
TEL:050/34 99 80.
These houses are mostly late medieval-looking and bear a name and a year on the outside wall. These houses are called 'Godshuizen'.
Get away from the tourists and discover this cafe which has been serving customers since the mid-1500's. Walk out Spinolarei and then jog over to Strokstraat on your way to the windmills!