Sunday, July 19, 2009

Belgium - Ah Brugge!

Sorry to have taken so long to Blog about the next stop on our Europe trip. Well, everyone knows what happens after a vacation right? You're buried under an endless pile of work and the R&R you just got during your vacation pretty much takes no time to wear off ... harsh but true. Anywho, I'm finally doing my promised post on the next stop of my Europe trip - Belgium.


We arrived in Brussels on the afternoon of the 29th (June). We started our trip with a visit to the Grand Place which I've heard so much about. The place was really spectacular, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, or so they say. Seeing this place also made me realize that we really, really need an SLR. Our Sony Cybershot couldn't do much justice to the grandness of this place, but here are some of our best shots.

Grand Place

Grand Place

After that we went to see the Manneken Pis. Now, I already knew from online reviews that not much is to be expected, but nothing could've prepared me for what I saw. It was a tiny, most ordinary statue of a pissing boy, and for the life of me, I cannot figure out what the big deal is!

Manneken Pis

After this, our evening in Brussels was pretty much spent walking around and trying out some chocolate here and there. We visited the Atomium and some other historical places in the city. I'll have to say that the Grand Place, and the St. Hubert Arcade with chocolate & lace shops right next to it is perhaps the only reason to visit this city. I wouldn't advise planning on spending too much time in Brussels if you're planning on visiting Belgium.

Belgian Lace (another Belgian specialty) and dolls on display

The Grand Place was beautiful by night. We ate our dinner of some excellent falafel sitting in the square that was full of people just sitting around and having beer. The square was alive even at 12 in the night.

Grand Place by Night

Chocolates, Waffles and Fries!

Belgian chocolate is just wicked, wicked, wicked! You cant walk 10 ft without seeing a chocolate shop. And I'm not talking about cheap candy or snickers bars. Ladies and Gentlemen! - this is the most exquisite, hand-crafted chocolate you would've ever seen or tasted in your life! Just going by the number of chocolate stores/chocolatiers we saw in Brussels and Brugges, I'm given to think that this is their national occupation. We had so much chocolate there, it's almost a sin!

Chocolate cant get any better than this!

Their waffles and fries are equally sinful! No better way to start a day than with an authentic Belgian waffle. Just melts in your mouth guys, this ain't not ihop waffle, let me tell you!



I would've loved to dedicate a separate post to this most beautiful city (my favorite of all in my trip) but decided to stick with one post per country. We took the train from Brussels to Brugge which was most convenient. Brugge is a most tourist friendly place. You'll get a map and a list of must-sees as soon as you exit the station and the place is small enough to walk around and big enough to spend at least an entire day in it.
*Note: I've noticed that this place was spelt/pronouced in at least 4-5 different ways. I'm going with the spelling on the tourist map :)

The Belfry Tower

We started off our trip with the Belfry tower. After huffing and puffing our way up the 300 odd, steep steps, we got the most breath-taking views of this charming city!

The Belfy Tower

The charming city of Brugge

Oh the beautiful canals!

Following the Belfry, we went on a canal cruise of the city. Brugge is also known as the 'Venice of the North'. If I thought that the Amsterdam canals were beautiful, Brugge' canals just took my breath away. You wouldn't even feel like blinking your eyes, lest you miss something during this beautiful cruise.

Canal cruise views

More canal cruise views..

More canal cruise views..

A befitting end to the cruise, the swan lake! Oh so romantic!

Other attractions

After the cruise, we pretty much followed the directions on our tourist guide to the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where they claim to have the blood of Jesus Christ in a vial. It was built in the 12th century. This is some serious history we're talking about!

Basilica of the Holy Blood. That light seems almost .. divine doesnt it? ;)

Inside the Basilica. Very awe-inspiring..

We actually never saw the vial (shown to small groups at a time). How and why it missed our minds, I don't know, but needles to say, I regret it very much :(.

Following this, we went to the Church of our Lady which has a stutue of Madonna and the Baby Jesus carved by Michaelangelo himself. One of this very few statues outside of Italy. The Gothic church walls and ceiling were spectacular.

Madonna and baby Jesus by Michaelangelo

Brugge has numerous museums and churches, and beautiful squares such as the Market Square and Burg Square to offer. I would recommend spending 12-14 hours in Brugge at least to cover everything at an enjoyable place. A lot of places close before 5pm, so get there a little early if you can.

Brugge and your 401K

A visit to Brugge can have interesting consequences for your 401K (retirement) savings. You'll suddenly want to live there, if not now then at least when you hit 60, and it wont take long to do the math to understand exactly how much you'll need in order to do so. I for one am going to start saving more in my 401K to live in a place like this one:

My dream home in Brugge

I highly recommend that everyone put Brugge on their must-see list. A day in Brugge will feel like a dream, and you'll want to hold on to it tightly, lest you get woken up too soon!


  1. i guess mannekin pis was important because the boy is seen to be pissing at the losers in the world war. i suppose you already know that :). nice post! though why would you want a terraced house that everyone around here is trying to get away from?

  2. Nope, didnt know that. But somehow that makes absolutely no difference to the way I feel about Mannekin Pis :))). As for the terraced house, you've seen too many of those living in Europe, we dont see such old and charming houses around here :). Did you go to Antwerp btw?

  3. Are those swans fake.. they are too pretty to be real !!

  4. hehe, no Tanu those are real swans :)

  5. nice narration.
    Mom also read good.

  6. PP - I didnot know you blog...But interesting read....Looks like you guys thoroughly enjoyed the trip, I ll keep an eye on your next blog post.!