Belgium: Bruges “Venice of the North”

bruges canal

Bruges, Venice of the North

Bruges is located about 100 kilometers from Brussels. It has a population of about 125,000 and has about 2 million visitors annually. Even on a cold January day I was startled to find a square that I had walked through only minutes before, was now wall to wall with tourists milling about.

Bruges market square

Bruges market square

Bruges no longer has access to the sea but back in the 1200 – 1500 it was one of the most important commercial centers in all of Europe. Famous for chocolate and lace, the demand for lace has fallen off of late, you can still find handmade lace products but our tour guide cautioned that most of the products are now made overseas.

Chocolate, now that’s still the feather in the Belgian’s cap and I was not disappointed with my tasting experience. Cuberdons, also known as the “nose” are nose-shaped dark chocolates filled with a raspberry tasting liquid. Our guide explained that Cuberdons are not exported and they only last 6 weeks (I’m still savoring mine). The guide also told us that Belgians are one of the top 5 consumers of chocolate in the world – 12 – 15 kg per person every year!

bruges market square

one of the oldest building in Bruges

one of the oldest building in Bruges

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We visited The Beguinage of Bruges, a Benedictine convent that was established in 1245 and is still active.

entrance to The Beguinage of Bruges, active convent established in 1245

entrance to The Beguinage of Bruges convent

Next stop Ghent!

 

afterpost kathryn abroad

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