Oh, the cobbles!

Hello All,

Welcome to my second post of wandering the streets of Bruges. For those who are wondering just how many pictures of a mild architectural theme I am going to post, I will be posting a further wander out by the city gates, then onward to Brussels and the splendid city sights there. In the next few weeks, I will also be posting some very historically relevant images as, when I was in this area, I thought it only right to visit the First World War battlefields of this area; that might be a big post to be honest, the scale of some of the places we went in our little minibus is truly staggering.

However, in the meantime, I continue to explore Bruges. I was thinking back and essentially, I think I approached my daily jaunt in a grid fashion. I recall that the map of the old city area was quite rectangular, so these images are from the top of there, but just short of the old city gates, which will feature soon with their gorgeous windmills and canals.

It’s interesting to look up when you walk around a new place isn’t it? This is especially valid in a modern city, but there is the odd surprise when you walk around medieval cities too! Just glancing up as I walked towards the large park at the end of the map, I saw this chimney. It also gave me a rest from looking at cobbles. I sure I get a nervous twitch when I see them now….

Is the rod pushing it out or pulling it in?

Is the rod pushing it out or pulling it in?

Just along from here, there was a highlighted street on the map referring to the poor houses of Bruges. These were scattered around the city but there was a concentration of them here. I think what the map meant was what in the UK we would refer to as “almshouses” (building donated by churches to the poor, elderly and distressed in the medieval period) as they certainly didn’t look like work houses or anything like that. In fact, they were extremely handsome buildings I wouldn’t have an issue with having to live in myself.

As far as I could gather, these were still occupied, well looked after and I dare say the residents were sick to the back teeth of tourists like me walking into their front garden!

Almshouses in Bruges; very small, very white, not very private

Almshouses in Bruges; very small, very white, not very private

Moving not so far away from here, this charming bridge lead to a monastery which is still in use today also. it was quite strange to see monks driving around in modern cars to be honest but they wouldn’t let people take pictures so I can’t share the joke with you I’m afraid. However, the fact that this sign was in about a dozen languages and had a very obvious image on it requesting no pictures didn’t stop some people. How very rude. Gets my goat that does. As you can see, the canal is getting wider, mainly as this seemed to be a turning area for the boat rides.

A view along the end of the canal to a working monastery

A view along the end of the canal to a working monastery

Close to the gates was this building. If anyone can tell me what it is, please do. I am 100% sure that it was used for storage and the hooded doors halfway up on the right hand side suggest this is the case, as there would be a rope on a pulley to lift the products up to the main body of the building. If there is an explanatory plaque somewhere I usually take a picture but on this occasion I obviously forgot. It may have been because the shot took me an age to take as I had to wait for tens people to move through the frame! I seem to recall that it may have been connected to the windmills but apologies for the woolly explanation!

However, even though I can’t remember what it was, this was quickly one of my fave places to come and eat a baguette or bring a coffee. The building, the bridge and the tree were easy on the eye and on occasion the ducks and swans from down the way popped in for crumbs. Yes, I am that easily pleased.

A very impressive cylindrical corn store (I think)

A very impressive cylindrical corn store (I think)

Back to the city, I decided to do a little more looking up and, not so far from the square and the canal junction, I found this gorgeous facade of an old chapel. Now, I am not a religious man, but that it pretty awesome isn’t it? I stood and wondered if that was real gold leaf. Due to wind rain and all that, I suspect not now but in the flesh it was very impressive, less so by the medium of digital photograph, but still. Wow.

On entering the door below, I was disappointed to find that it was no longer chapel with an atmosphere full of reverence and silence. It was a beer and chocolate shop. Sigh.

This rates as the most impressive shop front I have ever seen.....

This rates as the most impressive shop front I have ever seen…..

I promised night pictures didn’t I? I seem to remember I did so here we are. Only a couple on this occasion as, on this walk I forgot my tripod and then it started to rain so I didn’t spend too much time out before going to my favourite restaurant (that, coincidentally sold 400 different type of beer). I took some better, more stable images later on, so I shall include those as well when I get to them.

These images are just in the main square (Markt) not so far from the hotel and the building in this, is the town hall that housed the large museum showing the history of the city.

The Markt at night

The Markt at night

Now this one I am quite proud of. Why? As I managed to take a time exposure of a car passing by….by hand. Indeed. Yes, well, I was leaning on a bench but it came out pretty well, so I shall congratulate myself, as it’s very painful tensing muscles to hold still for this long. Mental note to self and those who wish to embark on night photography, remember to take your tripod with you!

Wobble wobble, a handheld light trail in the Markt just as the rain came

Wobble wobble, a handheld light trail in the Markt just as the rain came

Well, that is the lot for this trip around Bruges. I am finding it quite hard to condense all the gorgeous building and sights into 5 or 6 images and a few posts, so apologies for that but bear with me. as I say, a few more of my (more stable) night shots, Brussels and the trip out to the Flanders war graves to come, so keep tuned and thanks to the recent new followers. Much appreciated.

See you all soon.

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