Quiet Streets and Areas., Brugge
If you want to know where all those horses take five, pop down to the area where the lovely Minnewater and the Beguinage are. You'll see tired horses taking a breather and stopping to quench their thirst from a quaint.....horse head fountain!
I took a sepia shot of this scene so spot the real McCoy...
Coupure is along the canal that turns off from Groene Rei. The area between Coupure and Queen Astrid park is not touristic, very quiet and you see little treasures there.
I think this is of old the quarter of leather and clothemaking craftspeople.
Coupure means the coupon of cloth or the cut itself (couper is French for cutting).
We were in Brugge on a Saturday and had the happy chance to find a street market. This particular one sold antiques, jewellery, hangbags, old war helmets, stained glass thingies and various knick knacks.... I spent a wonderful hour hiding from hubby looking at all the treasures....
For me, this is an ideal way to spend a weekend, a lazy lunch, then a wander home...
This nice park is less than a10 minute walk south of Burg Square. It is well kept, quiet and lovely. There is a nice playground for the kids. It happened to be just across the street from our wonderful B & B (Astrid's) and the owners' children met up with their buddies in the afternoons. It is large enough that you could go to a quieter area if you just want to picnic or relax.
In the Oud St.-Jan complex this little shop offers light snacks, excellent coffee and reasonably priced internet access. It is off Mariastraat and there is usually a sign on the sidewalk pointing the way. I don't remember the exact charges, but they were quite reasonable.
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.
You can see this turret in the picture above (view from the Vismarkt / Fishmarket) as well, from afar.
Now, I have to admit I'm a sucker for turrets : )
It never ceases to amaze me just how many of these funky little towers you can spot if you look at buildings from different angles. In order to fully appreciate these architectural artifacts - or any other intricate details in facades and buildings - it helps having a good zoom on your camera (ideally, the number to look out for is optical zoom, not digital, as the latter just blows up pixels).
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.
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).
Spend half a day making the walk from the north east corner of Brugge, along Damse Vaart Zuid, to the small town of Damme (about 5km distance each way). The entire walk is along a serene, tree-lined canal. Break in Damme and grab a drink at one of the many cafes, and head back on the opposite side of the canal, along the horse path.
I gave this a miss as I don't have a thing for fish, much less raw herring fillets served with onions! But if you don't give a heck for popularity or keen to play a trick on your kissy spouse, try this local specialty at the Bruges Fish Market.
Ah yes, I was told by my innkeeper that this specialty is sold at the Vismarkt (fish market)from Tuesday to Saturday (8am to 1pm). He told me quite animatedly that sea creatures will be laid out for sale in this ancient market, on stone slabs, beneath the classical domes and columns...
How to go there:
At the station in Bruges you take bus nr. 6 or 16 till the 'Vismarkt' 'fish market
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.
If you want to see some of the "real houses" of the Bruggians, try to look out carefully when passing some gates and narrow doors on your way, have a look here and there and you'll see small and very colourfull buildings that look like from a fairy tale...
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.
I really suggest to take a walk all around the city, don't stay right in the main square or in the most walked area, take advantage of this truly nice city and walk every street and bridge.
No worries even during the night, i felt really safe even late in the night.
You can easily take the bell tower as reference to go back in the main square.