Vismarkt on the left from the bridge leading to the City hall square
What I now call the Belgian “Bridge of Sighs” without a soul in sightThe city hall too had its lights on and the square seemed totally different from the crowded square we visited the previous day. The difference was even more stark as I went through the Briedelstraat towards Grote Market and almost failed to recognise it due to the lack of crowds. It seemed much wider today.
The City Hall / Stadhuis Bruges at dawn on an overcast morning
The beautiful facade of the Stadhuis showing people of all occupations as sculptures rather than those of Royalty
The Bridelstraat looks wider without the crowdsThe Grote Market seemed to be humongous and much more peaceful without the raucous mid day crowds and vendors gone. The only company I had here was an elderly Japanese photographer. We both had the photographer’s etiquette to move out of each other’s frames leaving the whole square empty. The bell tower continued it’s chiming every 15minutes as if giving us a private concert. It made the effort even more worthwhile.
Grote Markt at dawn wears a deserted look
The bell tower continues it’s chiming every 15 minutes
De Coninck & Breydel search for the crowds from their perch
The bells ring for DeConinck, Breydel & me on a cold spring morning at Grote Markt
Grote Markt square from the far end with no tourist in sight
The Bell tower waits for the crowds to appear
The skies start getting colourful as the sun starts to riseWith my fill of the Grote Markt I doubled back to the Rosary Quay stopping to take a quick photo of the restaurant lined Huidenvettersplein without the usual lunch/ dinner crowds.
Huidenvettersplein with the yet to open restaurants at dawnRosary Quay had the most number of photographers on any given morning with tripods all set up to take the famous Bruges canal photo. That morning I decided not to join them and take a quick photo of our hotel (the white building ) before moving on.
Rosary Quay from another angleI then moved on towards the Church of our Lady stopping for a photo on the Nepomucenus bridge. While on the bridge it’s difficult to resist the temptation to take photos of the tranquil canals on either end made even more still by the lack of canal tour boats.
Nepomucenus stands all lonely on his bridge
Rosary Quay from Nepomucenus bridge
The still waters make for a great reflection of the Church spireI went towards the Church of our lady and through the small tree lined patch on Djiver which made for a good photo in stark contrast to the rest of Bruges.
The Nepomucenus bridge from the end of Djiver
The small tree lined avenue on Djiver next to the canalNext on my walks was the courtyard leading to the Bonaficius bridge which was one of the most photogenic parts of Bruges and I would return here almost every morning.
The Garden with the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse statues leading to Bonaficius bridge
From the Bonaficius bridgeI had decided to have a no museum approach on this trip as it was of no interest to the parents. So the closest I got to Flemish art museum was seeing the courtyard of the Gruuthuse museum , a former Palace with the spire of the Church of our lady as a backdrop.
The Gruuthuse museum courtyard
The spire of the Church of our lady from the Gruuthuse museum
Typical Flemish architecture of the Gruuthuse museum buildingI then walked out of the courtyard and towards the Church (I would visit the interiors – more on that in a later post). By now the locals were starting to go to their work on their bicycles and I had to be careful not to be run down by a speeding bicycle ( People who have been to Belgium & Amsterdam know that I am not kidding!)
The tallest structure in Bruges – The spire of the Church of our lady
The quiet courtyard in front of the Church with a statue of the poet Guido GezelleI then moved towards the Sint Salvator Cathedral but stopped and ducked into a pretty little courtyard that was of a small boutique hotel. It just reinforced the fact that every corner in Bruges is photo worthy.
The pretty courtyard of Boutique hotel de CastillionThe Cathedral street is very narrow and not very photogenic, I would visit the Cathedral interiors later (All interiors in a post later!). So I turned back and returned to my hotel ready for the day’s activities. This was my schedule early mornings in Bruges and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The street leading form the Church to the Cathedral
Another tree lined street in BrugesI would repeat the same walk on a much clearer day with the better half and my tripod in tow and get some great photos of us with an empty city as background. Only I couldn’t get photos of the Grote Markt as there was a local farmers market that day which was being set up when we went. We didn’t get the photos but we got delicious strawberries, plums, muskmelons as compensation!
At City Hall square on a clear morning
At Rosary Quay – tripod photo
Another angle of Rosary Quay
The better half poses on the Bonaficus bridge
At the foot of the Bonaficus bridge
In the pretty courtyard behind the Church of Our LadyI even managed to drag Anna out on one morning and got him to pose for a few photos albeit reluctantly!
Taking Anna on one of my morning walks in BrugesThen there were the night walks around Bruges Centrum. The long days of late April meant that the lights came into full effect only past 9 pm. By that time most of the people were back in their warm hotel rooms. The only people out and about were the people who were out having a drink or two in one of the numerous breweries around town or the photographers. I was out and about fully protected against the cold weather every night and I have to say it was the most fun I had in Bruges. Lit up Bruges is a sight to behold and if you ever visit Bruges you should make it a point to get out after the lights have come on lighting up the exteriors of most landmarks. It gives the already beautiful town an added filter of colour making the structures look even more impressive. I even dragged out my parents on our last night in Bruges to experience this pretty town all lit up. The landmarks are all the same so I am just going to let the photos do all the talking and not repeat the descriptions.
The view from Blonde Ezelburg Bridge on either side
Various night photos of the Town Hall / Stadhuis square
Even the souvenir shop windows are open and lit up at night
The Basilica of the Holy Blood on City Hall Square
The Bell tower of Bruges all lit up
Even De Coninck and Breydel look more majestic lit up
The Grote Markt / Great Market square from either ends – A beautifully lit up place at night
The Historium and Provincial Court on Grote Markt
The street leading away from Grote MarktThe Rosary Quay at night was such a beautiful sight at night that I would take photos of it from all angles every day and still return for more on the next.
Some photos of the Rosary Quay all lit up at night – The most beautiful sight in all of BrugesAnother place I found particularly attractive at night was the canal leading upto the Church of our lady brightly lit up.
The Church of our Lady spire lit up makes for a pretty sightI would return every night from my walks and finish with a photo of the empty but lit up Huidenvettersplein square and our home for 4 nights the Duc de Bourgogne.
Empty cafes post 10 pm at the lit up Huidenvettersplein
My parents pose outside our Hotel Duc de BourgogneThis post is different from my usual chronologically ordered travelogue but I wanted to show the beauty of Bruges at it’s best, without the crowds. Also this has been a photo heavy post with some repetitive photos as I couldn’t decide which was the better photo! ( Please let me know if you have an opinion!) We would do a lot of sightseeing in Bruges including visits to the windmills at the edge of town, visits to the Town Hall and the various beautiful churches of Bruges. But that is the topic for future posts some other time, some other day. Till then, Bye.
What an absolutely stunning city. I couldn’t believe these were the same places as the previous post. Outstanding night photographs.
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Thanks ma’am…it feels like a different place altogether too…