Why I Travel: Brugge

I had only one day to spend sightseeing the town that is the most charming, the most perfectly right-out-of-a-fairy tale medieval place in northern Belgium. Early on a Saturday morning, map in hands, we got off the train along with hundreds of other fellow tourists and went our way. Relatively a small town, we walked all the way to the center (hundreds of people around us), completely enamored with the beautiful architecture, the lovely canals, narrow streets and overall romantic atmosphere of the town.

There was a lively flea market going on – lots of antiques, chocolate and waffles, yum – and although we only had one day, we had done extensive research and were ready to explore the best places Brugge has to offer, and we wasted no time. But just walking around is enough to soak in all that beautiful medieval atmosphere. The main square, at the very heart of the city, looks like a postcard with all those bright colors and beautiful buildings. It’s so vibrant and exciting. It’s also packed with tourists: more than two million visitors every year! Pretty insane considering it feels like quite a small town, and has a population of 117,260.

Brugge has magic everywhere. Hidden in a tiny alley, where most tourists don’t go, there’s a secret garden that most people don’t know about. Once an abandoned house, standing roofless and rundown, the neighbors started using the space to plant different herbs and plants, and now it’s a cool public garden. Full of character and so unique, bringing life to this once dead spot. The building could just collapse at any time now, so enter at your own risk!

I also have a thing for independent bookshops, and I always look for new ones to visit when I’m in a new city. This time was no different and I made everyone walk all the way up to In Den Eenhoorn, a lovely place stocked from floor to ceiling with secondhand books. It’s madness and it smells of old books and I love it. And I bought a book in French – because you know.. as one does – in hopes that someday I’ll manage to read it. Ha! Good luck.

So my friend, if you’re reading this, pack up your bags and plan a trip to Belgium! It’s a beautiful little country full of beauty and culture, and a quick little train trip can take you from one end to the other. We pretty much crossed the country and visited its main cities in just a few days. It was a whirlwind of an experience, but it was absolutely marvelous.

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