The first thing someone asks me when I tell them I went to Bruges is "Did you see the movie?"  And I answer, "Yes, I saw the movie." I loved the movie--it's a bit bloody, but great dark humor. My favorite scene is when Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson are sitting at the table "discussing" Ralph Fiennes' kids in the Markt square. I still have the movie on my DVR; every once in a while I watch it just to reminisce about my visit to Bruges.

Of course, Bruges, or Brugge ("BREW-ga") as it's called by the Flemish, is everything that the guidebooks tell you it is:

Centuries-old stone bridges spanning picture-postcard canals mirroring reflections of the gabled houses.

The pedestrian-friendly Markt is the sentimental and geographic heart of the city. Colorful old guild houses, with their step-gabled façades, line the west and north sides.
The beautiful neo-Gothic-designed Provinciaal Hof is decorated with dainty spires, finials and window tracery.  In the center, horse-drawn carriages wait to be hired.

On the south side is the 272-foot high belltower, the symbol of Bruges, where it's still possible to hear a concert from the 47-bell carillon.

World-class art, including a Michelangelo sculpture, said to be the only sculpture taken out of Italy during his lifetime...

Michelangelo's Madonna and Child located in Bruges' Onze-Lieve Vrouwekerk.

Shops selling chocolate in every shape imaginable...

But here's a few things that your guidebook might not mention:

The De Proeverie Tea Room on Mariastraat is famous fortheir hot chocolate. After you place your order with thewaitress, you are given a mug of hot milk on top of which sits a saucer of melted Belgian chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate into the milk, stir, and for extra measure, spoon on the dollop of whipped cream. If that doesn't fulfill your chocolate craving, an assortment of chocolate pieces is served on the side.

Gastronomic ambrosia--hot chocolate at De Proeverie Tea Shop.

Stroll away from the main streets. Explore those narrow passageways that lead to charming surprises such as peaceful courtyards encircled by whitewashed almshouses and hidden gardens with inviting "Welcome" signs.
White-washed almshouses encircle peaceful courtyards.

Enjoy the clip-clop, clip-clop on the cobblestones that you'll hear everywhere as visitors tour the city in horse-drawn carriages.

You'll hear the clip-clop of horseshoes on the cobblestones all over the city.
The Belgians insist they make the best beer in the world. And if you are a beer drinker, you have to check out 2be Foodshopping Brugge located in a 15th century mansion-house on Wollestraat, just before you cross over the canal. I happened across it while strolling through Bruges.

What beautifully stocked shelves! A photographer's dream...
Look for the Wall of Beer sign. Walk into the store and stroll around the aisles. Everything, and I mean everything!, is meticulously arranged on the shelves. From the beer to the chocolate bars to the condiment jars, everything is lined up in perfect rows. I have never seen shelves arranged so precisely!  Hercule Poirot and Monk would have a field day in this store!

Past the store entrance and on your left is the 300-foot-long "Wall of Beer", showing hundreds of Belgian beers.

Check out some of the names of the beers and the colorful labels and matching glasses: Pink Elephant, Dark White, Black Ghost and my personal favorite Bella Mère...

Note the old hag on the label with a beer description of "Overall bitterness!" HA!

At the end of the wall is a cozy bar with a beautiful terrace overlooking the Rozenhoedkaai Canal. Try the Zot Beer. It's brewed right there in Bruges.

At the end of a long day exploring Bruges, enjoy a locally-brewed Zot beer! 

Thank you for visiting,

A Great Europe Trip Planner 

Photos were taken by me.

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