One of those things that we enjoyed most at Bruges was time to explore this medieval town on our own. The land excursion by Princess Cruises may include the local sightseeing of the major attractions in Bruges, but nothing beats having time by yourself to uncover the real Bruges at our own pace.
The market place is one of those places that we went back to explore on our own.
The Market Square of Bruges is located at the heart of the town and is the centre of activity in Bruges. Other than the architectural wonders lining the perimeter of the Market Square, there are plenty of shops and cafes around to entertain you for the day.
The Belfry of Bruges is my favourite monument at the Market Square. For an entry fee, the public can climb a staircase of 300 over steps to the top of the 80-metre building.
Having free time on our hands means that we can explore the town and snap photos at our own pace. The Provincial Hof or Province Court at the Market Place of Bruges is a Neogothical building and was the former meeting place for the provincial government of West Flanders. History aside, this is one of the most elaborately decorated buildings in Bruges.
In the middle of Market Square stands the Statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, often portrayed as patriotic heroes in Belgium because of their passion for Flemish identity.
The Market Square of Bruges is also where tourists congregate at the many cafes available. Think along the lines of Belgium beer and you will understand why the cafes are so popular.
Somewhere at the entrance to the Belfry, there were 2 food carts selling french fries which was highly recommended by our local guide.
We chose the one with a slightly longer queue. If it is a long queue, it must be good! 🙂
Actually not so. After trying it, it just tastes very ordinary. Nothing special about these fries.
The Basilica of the Holy Blood was covered by the local land tour component, but we were not given the opportunity to enter it due to time constrains of the tour. With time on our own hands, we came back to this sacred place for a short exploration.
On certain days, you may have the privilege to see the Holy Blood on display.
For a small fee, you can gain entry to a small museum.
The Church of our Lady was another of those places that we went back for more photo opportunities.
The good thing about walking in Bruges is that there is hardly any traffic around. However you do need to watch out for horse-drawn carriages which are everywhere. Fortunately we can hear the distinctive clip-clop of the horses as they approach.
Taking a leisurely walk along the cobblestone path of Bruges. This part of Bruges is a little more modern with brand name shops.
At this part of the world, the background in McDonald’s logo is green! Apparently, McDonald’s have been using a green logo since 2007 in Europe to show its support for environmental issues.
I love this part of Bruges. I don’t think I can ever find this in any other part of the world.
Every road we took seem to lead back to the Market Square and the Belfry!
The flea market is where the locals sell their handicraft. Worth a walk and a look, but things are pretty marked up to earn the tourist dollar. You will do better to explore the souvenir shops in the town.
If you are in Bruges or in fact, any part of Belgium, you cannot miss its famous Belgium chocolates. In the town of Bruges, chocolate shops are so easily available, you will be spoilt for choice.
Shaped like Belgium beer bottles, these are actually chocolates!
I can’t help but admire the resilience of these flowers under the hot summer sun. They are extremely beautiful, but I wonder how much longer they can last.
I caught sight of this on a wall and couldn’t stop laughing. I think it may be a logo for a brewery, but it looks so much like our very own New Moon logo.
We managed to cover all the sights in Bruges plus do a fair bit of shopping within the allocated 5 hours of time on our own. The return walk to the coach that will bring us back to Caribbean Princess was as scenic as the rest of Bruges.
Minnewater Park of Bruges. Such a tranquil and romantic sight.
Join us next as we bring you the best chocolates in Bruges.