Travel Photographs - Brugge, Belgium

September 25, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I am back in Maine after 10 great days in Belgium. I know, many of you will be thinking - Belgium??? Well, many, many years ago, 43 years ago to be exact, I first went to Belgium on an assignment with the U.S.Army. It was one of my most memorable, and enjoyable assignments in my 20 years with the Army. I lived for four years in Belgium, 2 years in Mons and 2 years in a small village of Obourg. I spent a lot of time in Brussels enjoying the food, the chocolate and the European atmosphere. I love sitting at the outside cafe's just watching the people go by. I know that you can never really go back, as things never really stay the same, so I did not attempt to retrace my steps to where I used to live. As a matter of fact, I decided to go to a couple of cities I had wanted to see, but never seemed to have the time. My significant other, Rose, and I started our trip in Bruges after flying in to Brussels Airport with Delta Airlines. The tour company I selected, FireBird Tours, let me design the trip just as I wanted and provided us with a personal guide on the four walking tours I had planned. 

Belgium does not seem to be a top destination for Americans, and it really should be. One of the things that has changed significantly since I lived there was the ability to speak English. 40 years ago it was difficult, at best, to find someone willing to speak English. In 2019, it is unusual to find someone that does not speak English. Belgium has a great mix of the old and the new. The architecture around the Market Place (in Flanders), the Grand Place (in Walloon), are old European with history preserved. 

One thing I really noticed in Bruges was the bicycle traffic, much more than in Brussels. Bicycles were everywhere, zooming in and out. The streets are narrow, and mostly one way. If a destination was only a couple of blocks away, it was probably a couple of miles by taxi. One of the most prominent features in Bruges is the canal system. You do not have to walk far to come to one of the very picturesque canals with 16th or 17th century houses reflecting in the still waters.

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Our first walking tour was of Bruges, and started at Hotel Aragon, where we stayed for 4 nights. This was a very nice hotel and the staff could not have been better. It was only located a couple of minutes walk from the Market Place. Our guide, Rose, Jim and our guide, Nikolas Nikolas, of Legends Tourswas extremely knowledgeable about the history and architecture the city. But, be prepared to really walk and wear comfortable shoes. That first day we put in over 10,300 steps in about 4 hours. Well worth it though.

If you are into beer, Belgium is the place for you. There are over 3,000 beers brewed in Belgium. The first beer pipeline was constructed in Bruges, and still takes the beer from the brewery to the bottling plant on the outskirts of the city. Not being a beer drinker, I will keep my tasting to the food, chocolate and waffles.

The seasonal specialty of Belgium is Mussels. and this was the season for them. We found a nice outside restaurant next to one of the canals, and they were advertising their fresh mussels. Rose had also heard all of my tales about the wonderful fries they have in Belgium. (French Fries are actually Belgium Fries. They were invented in Belgium and are still the best. Soldiers, after WWII were sitting in cafe's in Brussels hearing french and named the fries "French Fries". A wound in the side of Belgium ever since.

 

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Four wonderful, if tiring, days in Bruges and it was time to move on to Ghent for the day. I will continue this trip in another blog post very soon. As luck will have it, I am a Professional Photographer and business has been great. I must be doing something right, as customers are finding me on the internet regularly. If you would like to see my travel photos, please go to my travel and wildlife website.

Thank you for reading this, and I hope you enjoy the photos and a little narrative. If any of you get the chance to travel to Belgium I would highly recommend it.

 

 


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