Bruges has always been a tourist town, and on a beautiful Saturday in late September it was a little overrun, but our guide managed to find two places I had not been to before, both of them oases of tranquility in what can be a busy place. The first was an alms house, in off a lane near our hotel. Gardens in the centre, small cottages around the outside and a peaceful atmosphere, these houses date to the sixteenth century and provided housing to those who needed it most.
The second place is the Beguinage. This is a separate community set up by women in the middles ages whose husbands had died, or whom were never married, but came from wealth. They created a community of housing for women with a shared church, gardens and ensured that people who had less were taken care of. This community still exists, and is closed from 6 pm to 6 am. During the day you are able to visit and it is beautiful and peaceful. The church is worth a look and the trees of the park are beautiful. If you can time your visit to early spring, the park is a field of daffodils.
Bruges offers canal boat trips to see the sights of the city, and is a very walkable city. Look out for the “old” bridge which is barely 50 years old, and if you are looking for a snack, the chocolate shops will not disappoint,nor will the waffles – just look for the long lines outside to make sure you are getting the best freshly made waffles.
However you do it #visitbruges.