The snow is beautiful, isn’t it? One of the few times a big city looks truly beautiful is after it’s first snow. Everything looks clean, quiet and peaceful… the chaos of the city is blanketed in white. But where do I miss most on a snowy day like today? A city half a world away, in the country of Belgium, in a place called Bruges.
Any Colin Farrell fans out there? Yeah, me too. Have you seen the movie, In Bruges? If so, please do not judge the city based on this movie. While the movie is absurd and hilarious, it does not represent the Bruges I know. Watch it for what it’s great for (mmmmmm Colin).
I’m going to be completely honest here – regardless of how silly this will sound. When I got off the train in Bruges, in the center square, I cried. The fact that it was night time, the streets were nearly empty, and there was a light snow certainly contributed to the magic, but nevertheless, Bruges is the most beautiful city I have ever seen.
In the last paragraph I mentioned magic. Magical is a perfect way to describe Bruges. Let me try and explain… When you walk through the city, you feel as if you’ve gone back in time. The city’s architecture will steal your breath away – from the medieval churches to the cobblestone streets. If you stay until night, when the streets clear out, you have this surreal feeling that you are walking where no one has before.
First: get to Brug Square. Bruges’ City Hall (Stadhuis) is absolutely stunning. If you are there during the day, take the tour. It is certainly worth it. Otherwise, just stroll around the Square. Hell, take a horse and carriage if you really want to live in a fairy tale. Another amazing site is the Church of Our Lady. While I didn’t have the chance, take a trip down the canal (Groenerei) via boat. I’ve heard the most amazing things about these mysterious (and quite famous) canals. Bruge is known as “The Venice of the North” after all, and is actually the cultural capital of Europe.
And the people… in this area of the world, language and religion does play its part, but here, in Bruges, it is all forgotten. The people have a classic charm that you just don’t find anymore. Another silly secret – after speaking with a restaurant owner for only 2 minutes, I had the urge to hug him. Okay, the beer did encourage this, as did the fact that I always want to hug people, but seriously – go to this city and see what I mean.
As you may or may not know, Belgium is famous for its beer. Try a Straffe Hendrik – a true Belgium beer. It is delicious. Need a great place? Try Bierbrasserie Cambrinus. In fact, maybe you can meet the guy I wanted to hug. This place has amazing food and all the choices in beer you can hope for. But for the love of God, please don’t steal a glass. I know you are tempted to, they are very cool glasses, but its just as easy to buy one from one of the tourist shops. Don’t be “that guy”.
Bruges is beautiful, romantic and charming. Hopefully I painted a bit of a picture. While I have many places still to see in this big, wide world, I can honestly say that Bruges is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. Cheers.