If you have ever visited Belgium, you probably started with an exploration of Brussels and afterward took the train to have a look at Bruges.
The train station is not far from the historic center; you can easily reach it on foot. Bruges is one of the rare cities that has kept its medieval architecture and therefore belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Have a look at the belfry (13th century) and the Church of Our Lady (13th – 15th century). Take a boat tour on the canals. Or visit one of the museums. For more information, take a look at the official tourism website of Bruges.
But all this beauty comes at a price… Many tourists. Too many tourists. Way too many tourists. Rushing from one landmark to another. Gaping at the architecture. Tasting chocolates and/or beer. Photographing each other. Taking selfies.
The only month of the year when Bruges belongs to the locals (again) is January. Unfortunately, that’s also the period of the year when the weather can be awful, with low temperatures, wind, and rain or snow. Not really very comfortable.
But… there is a location in Bruges where you can find some peace and quiet. It’s called “Minnewater” and it’s roughly located between the train station and the center.
The website of VisitFlanders has this to say about the area:
In the south of Bruges is the Minnewater, a small rectangular lake surrounded by trees and the adjacent Minnewater park. The tragic love story of Minna and her beloved Stromberg resulted in a popular legend which tells us that eternal love will befall couples who cross the Minnewater Bridge. Its makes Minnewater a very romantic place. Enjoy the surroundings seen from the Minnewater Bridge, one of the benches along the lake or explore the peaceful Minnewater park.
Near the Canals
Lars and I both love waterscapes, so it was obvious that we spent some time near one of the canals as well.
Let’s cross the bridge and visit another picturesque landmark.
This is the only preserved beguinage in Bruges. Wikipedia explains what a beguinage is:
A beguinage, from the French term béguinage, is an architectural complex which was created to house beguines: lay religious women who lived in community without taking vows or retiring from the world.
This also belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Nowadays, the site serves as a Benedictine convent.
The buildings date from the 16th – 18th century.
One Last Look
A more detailed map of the area:
Two more posts still coming up this week: one about a religious site in Poland and part 2 of our exploration of the Sierra de Huétor.
What about you? Have you ever visited Bruges? And if yes, did you visit this area? If no, do you want to visit it? Let us know in the comments!