Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Slideshow

August 30, 1999


Our first






Up early for coffee, now at station to pick up train tickets to Bruges - long lines - departs in 10 minutes - we made it!

Bruges is classically medieval architecture - went to Groeninge museum where we saw Heironimus Bosch's "Last Judgment" - more intense colors than expected and fine detail not seen in the common reproductions. Special treat while the hospital is under reconstruction is the Hans Memling (1440-94) large altar piece, several triptychs and the Saint Ursula "Ark" Shrine (circa 1489). Jakob de Bucker's "Garden of Eden" has gray cats in lower right corner, pairs of animals, rich foliage; Antoon Claessens (1605) "Mars Surrounded by the Liberal Arts Vanquishing Ignorance" depicts ignorance with large donkey ears. Some great photo ops around town - lunch was heaping bowl of mussels, pommes frites, Trippel beer. Race to catch bus for train back - just made it - last shuttle. Great day - would like to return and spend more time someday. Charming medieval town, canals, outstanding churches.


Memling St Ursula Shrine 1489

Saint Ursula Shrine by Hans Memling before 1489

May 11



This is our first full day in Bruges. We went out for a little walk about, had coffee, and met up with the McQs around noon thirty (after their morning included tour). Our first stop with them was the Groeninge Museum which holds a delightful collection of Flemish primitive art as well as Baroque, Renaissance, Neo-Classical, Modern and Expressionist works. After a beer stop (sitting outdoors in the sun!), we continued to the Memlingmuseum - Sint Janshospitaal - a 13th century complex with baroque interiors, paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, stained glass and more. Another beer stop, a visit to the Church of Our Lady on Burg square, then a rest in our rooms were in order before heading out for a Greek feast at El Greco. And what a feast! grilled meats, salads, orzo prepared like spaghetti with sharp grated cheese on top, tzaziki, kalamatas, calamaris, retsina and a Hatzimikali Syrah - sooo good!  
May 12



Up for coffee at Charlie Rockets, then off with the McQs to the Gruuthuse, a 15th century town palace for the Lords of Gruuthuse with a large collection of applied arts - furniture, tapestries, musical instruments, paintings, silverware, tin, pottery (a full kitchen display), weapons and a guillotine. After a stop for wheat beer, we visited the Stadhius and Brugse Vrije (the Gothic Chamber of Bruges Town Hall and the sheriff's courtroom) - beautiful council hall and impressive carvings, marble and iron work for the mantel in the courtroom. By this time the McQs were tired and returned to their room for a nap and to get a head start on packing for their return to Louisiana the next morning. We stopped for a sandwich and coffee, then walked through the verdant Astridpark with its fine bandstand. A wrong (but infinitely correct) turn took us to the Church of the Holy Magdalene (Mrs. Jesus) with its towering interior. From there we headed up and across a canal to the Jerusalem Church (closed today) and continued on to the Museum viir Volkskunde (Folklore museum), a series of contemporary almshouses which has 20 rooms and a great collection of historic objects including replicas of workshops, an apothecary, lace and glass blowers shops - very interesting collection. Cold draft Brugse Tripel and Leffe Black beer polished our afternoon stroll on the way back to the hotel to rest and relax. It was a fine, sunny and warm day (a rare treat here). We 4 went out for a snack around 8 pm (Greek gyros), then returned to the hotel for cognac, our fond farewells, hugs and love - sure glad we had this time together.  
May 13



A bus to Bruges central station, ticketed to Amsterdam, coffee in one of the prettiest station cafés we have ever seen (very Orient Express deco style with dark woods, etched glass panels between burgundy and gold damask over-stuffed booths, great wall art too. We found that the train strike in Belgium was starting just as we made a mad dash for the train out of Antwerp towards Amsterdam - more excitement than we want or need!