Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Europe 2005

Part 2: Bruges and Brussels

In the summer of 2005 my parents and I spent two weeks traveling in Europe. I continue today with the special series of posts that documents our European adventure! (To start at the beginning of this series, click here.)

Bruges (or Brugge), the capital of the Belgian province of West Flanders, was the first place we visited on our European bus tour – once we'd traveled across the channel from Dover to Calais, France, via the ferry The Pride of Kent.

Along with a other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, Bruges is sometimes referred to as “The Venice of the North.”

I have to say that Bruges remains one of the highlights of my European tour – maybe because it was the first real continental European city I visited. Then again, it certainly has a beauty that would be impressive at any time, as I’m sure you’ll agree. The imposing tower in the opening photo is known as the Belfry Tower.

Above: The picturesque and colorful medieval market place of Bruges (though, truth be told, some of the buildings were built more recently in the medieval style.)

Above: The tower of the Church of Our Lady – the tallest tower in Bruges.

According to a tourist brochure, Our Lady’s Church was built between the second half of the 13th century and the late 15th century. Its style varies from late Romanesque to French Gothic.

Above: In the center of Bruges’ market place stands the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck. Both men participated in the 1302 uprising of the Flemish against the occupation by the French, known as the Battle of the Golden Spurs.

Above: The Provincial Court (located in the market place) is said to be the best example of how Bruges was renovated in neo-gothic style during the second half of the 19th century.

Above: Detail of one of the neo-gothic style buildings in Bruges, Belgium.

Above and below: The city of Brussels’ famous Market Square, referred to by French-speakers as the “Grand-Place”, and by the Dutch as de grote Markt.

The photo above shows the Maison du Roi (King’s House), or Broodhuis (Breadhouse).

Above: The Town Hall f Brussels, built in the first half of the 1400s. In the 1840s the entire facade of the building was decorated with over 200 statues representing the Dukes and Duchesses of Brabant who ruled the dukedom between the year 580 and 1564.

From the pages of my journal . . .

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bruges and Brussels were the two places we visited today – this first day of our “Highlights of Europe” tour. I was impressed by the ornate medieval buildings of both cities. In addition to the predominantly neo-gothic style of architecture, it appears that both cities attract tourists with chocolates, lace, and tapestries!

The bus, or rather coach, in which we are traveling is very spacious and comfortable. Today I sat next to a fellow Australian named Trevor. It turned out that, like Dad, he was born in Coonabarabran. Over lunch he and Dad discussed people and places they both knew.

I'm fast approaching the end of At Swim Two Boys. I've really enjoyed this novel, and will be sorry to finish it.

NEXT: Part 3: Germany and Austria

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
Europe 2005 - Part 1: London

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