The canals of Bruges and the City Gate


Yes. It is I. If anyone was wondering where I was, I just had my second holiday of the year. Two holidays in a year…we thought this guy worked in the public sector?! Well, that is a whole other blog, but less talk on here about work the better.

I went to Germany, in particular the south west of Germany, to a teeny little town called Adenau just on the Nurburgring, to fulfill an ambition to drive around it. I was also visiting towns and cities in the vicinity, as I’m not a 100% petrolhead, you know. More about that once I get the photos on here (quite a while by the looks of it so far) but, suffice to say, it was the hardest driving I have ever done and this includes the 10 hours there and 10 hours back when I was being harassed by aggressive Belgian truck drivers!

Anyway, back to this holiday for the time being. I have picked a selection of photos over a couple of days that cover me wandering the quieter areas of Bruges, up the less frequented canal paths and up to the massive windmills and city gates. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of the culture contained in Bruges…I really would recommend it for a short holiday. Honestly.

Firstly, a nice wide (as wide as i can get anyway) shot of the canals along from the Markt that I featured in my last load of night shots. Quite a variety of younger more brightly coloured buildings here…

A wide shot of the canals leading to the Markt

A wide shot of the canals leading to the Markt

Next, I sauntered the canals looking for buildings of interest, I thought that this picture showed a nice mix of the old and the new. Maybe just me but I thought the mixture of the old buttresses and such on the water and the fairly modern glazed building in the background was quite attractive….

Old meets new, Bruges UNESCO style!

Old meets new, Bruges UNESCO style!

Further on, I caught a tourist ride passing the fantastic church in the centre of the city. The lady at the front doesn’t look too impressed does she? Maybe it’s because she realised after a few minutes that she was being used as a windbreak by all those behind her!

Touring the canals in the centre of Bruges....windy and cold is the name of the game

Touring the canals in the centre of Bruges….windy and cold is the name of the game

Now, this facade was really striking, the majority of it being timber. I am sure that this is not original but the age must be quite high as you can clearly see the weathering from the good old European winters on this. I bet there are carpenters who make an absolute fortune restoring facades like this, seeing the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, if I lived there, I’m sure I wouldn’t mind too much. Until I got the bill….

Ooooooh, think there's a touch of dry rot there, guv'nor

Ooooooh, think there’s a touch of dry rot there, guv’nor

Now, this was just added in for the amusement factor to be honest. Apparently, according to a guide I overheard, this is the smallest medieval window in Bruges. Alas, I had to zoom in so far there is not much in the way of context but it had to be less that a foot wide and about 15 to 20 feet up a wall. Quite what it gave light to I have no clue, it was almost worse than useless!!

Why? Why would you put the smallest window in a city there?

Why? Why would you put the smallest window in a city there?

Onwards to the windmills. There are a number of these scattered by the city gates; I can only presume they were placed here in the old times to ensure that there was a fast transport route nearby, i.e the canal. Nowadays, although they are maintained very well, as you can see, they aren’t used to grind seed or produce anything, which is a great shame in my opinion. The tourists would lap up stuff from here…just think of a cafe selling cakes and pastries made using the flour of the mill you are sitting under. I’d pay for that and sure others would.

Kruispoort Windmill. Impressive

Kruispoort Windmill. Impressive

And so, onto the more modern city gates before the older ones…quite a beast isn’t it. I was quite amazed at the patience shown by the oodles of cyclists, drivers and pedestrians when a yacht pootled through this gate. Obviously there is a traffic light system for both sets of traffic (yes, even the boats) but still, it was just so normal to them but alien and amusing to me. I saw all sorts go through here whilst I watched, some cruisers, the river barges hauling I don’t know what and private boats of all shapes and sizes.

The more modern gate and bridge to Kruispoort

The more modern gate and bridge to Kruispoort

However, here we have it, the City Gate, or at least one of them. There are a number of preserved old city gateways: the Kruispoort, Gentpoort, Smedenpoort and Ezelpoort; alas, through early development and dilapidation the Dampoort, Katelijnepoort and Boeveriepoort have disappeared. I can see from my fancy map of Bruges that this is the Kruispoort; apologies for the blooming Fiat 500 that nipped into the frame. Those who know me will know I despise those cars…to vent properly regards them would take another post but I shan’t expose you to that :).

Kruispoort...and an unwelcome visitor in the frame

Kruispoort…and an unwelcome visitor in the frame

Finally, an image of Bruges that I am properly proud of, one that I took at night early on in my break and one of the most photographed corners of the city and canal basin. I thought it worked out very well and gave a good view of the building and The Belfry in the background. Hope you enjoy it, as I endured many furrowed brows taking this at about 10 at night! No creativity some people….

A night view of the canal basin towards the city centre and The Belfry

A night view of the canal basin towards the city centre and The Belfry

Well, that is Bruges for the moment, I note from my quick look through upcoming images that Brussels is next, political heartland of the EU. That statement either fills you with horror or excitement. However, those who hold politics in the same regards as I (yaaaaaawn) will be glad to know that Brussels is a very photogenic city, so there was plenty to see!

Until next time, toodle-pip, thanks for stopping by…shan’t keep you waiting so long next time!

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  1. #1 by calmgrove on October 21, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    Bruges is, well, if not on a bucket list at least a wouldliketodo list, and this post has confirmed that. Your commentary certainly makes it sound very do-able, and from Pembrokeshire too! (When we move to Powys it’ll be even closer!)

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