Bruges: a walk down memory lane

Bruges: a walk down memory lane

with 11 Comments

We stroll along the little colorful houses snugly jammed into one another, with carved effigies of saints over their doors. We wander through tiny back alleys and winding cobbled streets that abruptly end in one of the many canals. A fragrance of chocolate lingers in the air. But then, a stronger aroma of stagnant canal water overtakes the sweet smell. It is high summer. Not the best time to buy chocolate.

Bruges (or Brugge in Dutch), the capital of West Flanders, is deeply seeped in history. The town, sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North”, has preserved its many gothic churches, ornate medieval houses, ancient gateways, and bell towers.

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The central market place, a huge square, is packed with tourists and cafés. But regardless of the crowd’s rumble, the clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages and the belfry’s carillon can still take you back in time.

Quaint little shops selling lace and chocolate finally lead us to a stone bridge, inviting us to linger… To observe the canal life from the riverbanks, and the many yellow weeping willows dipping their branches in the water. At times, we mistake the swans gliding in pairs over the water for sparkling diamonds. Their graceful necks arched like the bridges that cross the canal. We sit there until dusk, watching the sunset and the colors getting less vivid and gently turning into pastel shades.


Although we have never been to Bruges before, the scenery strangely feels familiar. Somehow I have the impression that I know this town, this particular view, and this ambiance. As I walk down memory lane, I suddenly recognize these canal views from the Flemish paintings I saw as a kid. Paintings that my great-grandparents had imported from their motherland Belgium.



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Bruges: the Venice of the North ©


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Writer - Teacher - Storyteller

Kerstin is a French and Spanish teacher, born and raised in a tiny Luxembourgish village. Fluent in 5 languages, she's above all a huge book enthusiast, a fervent storyteller and a published author. When traveling, she loves exploring natural wonders and cultural sites on long road trips.

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11 Responses

  1. Ami Bhat
    | Reply

    Bruges definitely, is a beautiful and quaint town and I can imagine myself just walking through those streets and taking in those sights. It seems like a perfect mix of nature and a town. I love those tiny bridges and the cobbled walkways. Someday! Sigh!

  2. Eve Kay
    | Reply

    Love your description of the place and so heartwarming that you “reunited” your memory of your grandma’s painting as a kid with what you’re seeing. Bruges sounds like a lovely place!

  3. Adelina
    | Reply

    What a lovely memory to be brought up by your visit. Bruges is a beautiful city.

  4. Indrani
    | Reply

    I have been there just for a day amd memories are clearly etched in mind.
    So glad to see the night views of the town. 🙂

  5. anna faustino
    | Reply

    I loved my time in Bruges. Met up with some local friends who lived a few towns away so we really got to experience it the way the locals do! That was the best part.

  6. Marion Halliday
    | Reply

    Haha, I think I’d find room for chocolate no matter what time of year it was, or what the canal smelled like! I could spend hours wandering around those beautiful old buildings too – the history must be fascinating!

    | Reply

    Such an incredibly pretty city. I remember it well.

  8. elphie1
    | Reply

    We LOVED Brugges! It is such an amazing place. We haven’t been to venice but this was just as good!

  9. Looks pretty! I’ve never spent more than a day or so in Belgium en route to elsewhere – must fix that sometime. (But not in high summer when chocolate’s going to melt – good point!)

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      It’s pretty easy to roadtrip through Belgium and the Netherlands (plus no toll!). And while Bruges might be small, it’s totally worth spending at least a night there! And nearby Ghent is also beautiful!

  10. Bruges looks so charming. I haven’t been it but I just love the canals and the architecture. The chocolate is the literal icing on the cake! I love how you compared the bridges to the neck of the swans. What a great visual that put me right into the moment.

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