Monday, September 22, 2014

Canal Walking in Bruges

After a walking tour of the historic squares of Bruges, we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the various canals and bridges of the city. We all know about the canals in Venice, and Amsterdam has its share of symmetrical canals, too. I didn't know before this trip that Bruges is also a heavy-hitter when it comes to canals.

The canals were built to help support the trading economy in this once commercial hub. Today, they are mostly full of tourist cruises and endless charm.

Bruges Canal
Bruges Canal

Luckily for Bruges visitors, most of them are lined with streets or walkways on at least one side, letting the dedicated walkers among us explore for hours uninterrupted.

Canal Corner, Bell Tower on the Right Bruges, Belgium
Canal Corner, Bell Tower on the Right

Sometimes, there are no walkways, and buildings come right up to the water's edge. The view from the windows of these (residences?) must be amazing.

Buildings up to the Edge of the Canal Bruges, Belgium
Buildings up to the Edge of the Canal

Some Lucky Person's Patio on the Canal in Bruges, Belgium
Some Lucky Person's Patio

After a long afternoon of canal-walking, we stopped in to a fast food restaurant cafe for more Bruges beer and a pot of mussels with fries.

Straffe Hendrik and Brugse Zot Beer Bruges, Belgium
Straffe Hendrik and Brugse Zot Beer

After our seafood, we struck out beyond the heart of the city to see the larger ring canal around the old town and the four remaining Low-Country windmills still standing on the city's edge.

Obligatory Cory-Looking-at-the-Water Shot Bruges, Belgium
Obligatory Cory-Looking-at-the-Water Shot

If we'd planned to stay a night in Bruges, we would have rented bicycles to pedal around the fantastic trail around and out of Bruges to the countryside. As it was, we had to stick to our feet on the ring canal. The windmills are open to visitors for a cost, but we were happy just enjoying them from the grass in the lengthening shadows.

Ring Canal Windmill Bruges, Belgium
Ring Canal Windmill

Two of the Remaining Windmills
Two of the Remaining Windmills

Beyond the ring canal was what we assumed to be the real city- the part where people actually live and work. Being the unashamed tourists we were, we made our way back into the old city as the sun set for a taste of some more Belgian beer and some nighttime photos.

Bruges Canal at Sunset
Bruges Canal at Sunset

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