Experience Travel

Notes from a fairy tale land

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In Bruges, Anubhuti Krishna bikes along canals lined with world heritage buildings, guzzles fresh beer, and follows it up with decadent chocolate

Climb the belfry for a great view

The bell tower of Bruges happens to be one of the most important buildings in town, and the most popular too. Set up in the 13th Century, it is part of a complex that served as a market hall and warehouse for traders. Today, it is a museum and a watchtower, apart from being home to a carillon with 47 melodious bells. Begin your day by climbing a mammoth 366 stairs to the top of the tower; witness the wealth of the city at the treasury museum, understand the complex mechanism of the bells, which work even today, and enjoy sweeping views of the Belgian countryside from the top. On the ground, you can choose to ride the horse-drawn carriages that trot along the Market Square, or walk around Brug, the most quaint town square in Europe, while sampling freshly fried Belgian frites with mustard mayonnaise and tucking into waffles overloaded with toppings. From the square, you can walk to the main shopping district or saunter along the cobbled lanes lined with souvenir shops, cafés, and chocolate boutiques.

Discover charming Flemish history

Notes from a fairy tale land

Spend your afternoon venturing a little off the beaten track. Explore the quiet St Anna District, home to the Museum of Lace, the Folklore Museum, and the oldest pub in Bruges, Café Vlissinghe. Housed in the renovated old lace school of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, the museum traces the history of lace making in Bruges. The Folklore Museum, set in a 17th Century building, displays antique treasures of Flemish history and offers an insight into the daily life of the locals from about a hundred years ago. If history is not your subject, you can spend your afternoons getting lost in a chocolate jungle and looking for hidden chocolates at the Choco-Story Museum, or tracing the origin of fries and their importance in Belgian history at the Frites Museum. You could choose to wrap up your afternoon with a leisurely tour of the Beer Museum perched on top of a former post office, or sip actual beer in one of the many cafés. With so many exciting food and beverage options, this is a great place for gourmets.

Indulge in a culinary experience

Notes from a fairy tale land

Bruges is set along meandering canals and criss-cross waterways. Cruising through them is a great way to experience the Flemish town, especially at dusk. Passing through beer breweries and cafés, churches and cathedrals, and narrow-stepped gabled homes helps you take layers off the history of one of the oldest cities of Belgium. It also helps you make friends with resident swans, breathe in the beer-scented air, and get to know the friendly captain of the boat. If you prefer exercising your limbs, hire a bike and explore the town like Anushka Sharma did in PK. Remember to stop by a bookshop, and pause for delicious hot chocolate. Along the way, discover houses that have defined Bruges since the Middle Ages, listen to the tales behind their tiny windows, and marvel at the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage City. End your day at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants. Choose from delicacies like horse steak, eel in herb sauce, and tongue set in gelatin, or play it safe with stew or mussels and mushroom.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:26:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/bruges-notes-from-a-fairy-tale-land/article20450970.ece

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