Monday, 18 May 2015

Deinze to three nights in Brugge (Bruges)

Monday 11 May to Wednesday 13 May 2015

It was with some trepidation that we sailed relatively early for the much talked about city of Brugge. When the Lonely Planet Guide says “…there’s an almost constant crush of tourists…” then it is definitely not somewhere we would like to spend any time at all. The cruise down the canalised Leie was boring in parts but the nearer we came to Brugge the prettier it became with the canal winding through a densely tree lined avenue with openings revealing pastoral scenes and our first sight of Flanders poppies.


A blockhouse?

In a convoy of boats, we passed Jachtclub Flandria where Njord was moored and where a rude, pushy Hollander left the group, and proceeded to our planned mooring at the VPF Passantehaven at Coupure, Brugge. As we entered the marina we were instructed to make a 180 degree turn and moor on the opposite side – I made a real hash of the exercise by underestimating the space in which I had to turn and the strength of the wind but eventually, with about six people giving different instructions to me via Lynn on the foredeck (a bit pointless as I could not hear what she was trying to tell me) we made it to our berth and the “Stop!”/”Voorvarts!”/”Agtertoe!”/”Skroef af”/”More power” cacophony ceased and our willing helpers disappeared.

The three days we spent in Brugge were wonderful: A city of spires and antiquity, pretty waterways and lots of students – and yes, lots of tourists and tour groups but we found them not to as obtrusive as those in Ghent. I think what helped our experience greatly was that, although our marina was only 1 kilometre from the city centre, it was almost as if we were parked in a pretty, leafy suburb with a bakkerij and a couple of restaurants within 300 meters.

We decided to really act as tourists so we

- did a 30 minute boat tour of the city which was very informative and made better by our guide's sense of humour.

- did a tour of the only working brewery in Brugge, De Halwe Maan, a tour made a bit uncomfortable by our almost humourless guide.

Our guide.

A view over Brugge from the brewery roof.

- ate moule frite and varkenwangetjes.

- saw lace shops

- and other shops...

- visited the various famous buildings

- and the Onze Liewe Vrou Kerk with its stunning artworks

- including an original Michelangelo 'Madonna and Child', one of the few outside Italy.

 Thank you for your hospitality Brugge and we are already looking forward to our next visit in September!

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