Bruges is one of the most favorite west European tourist spots with a medieval outlook. So keeping that in mind, after traveling for over 4 hours by train, we were quite surprised to find the place so serene and barely crowded. A perfect spot for a weekend and bit of a stretch for a day trip (which is what we did). What is great about the place is that once you reach the city center, you can see quite a bit without walking to the extreme ends of the city.
We began with the Onze Lieve Vrowekerk (there seems to be one in every major city in Europe!), which has one of Michaelangelo's pieces - >Madonna and Child.
Before the weather got fussy, we got into a Canal cruise, my very first after coming to Europe. It is indeed a relaxing way to see things.
At the absolute center of the city is the Markt, a large square flanked with huge monuments on all sides.
Around the Markt area lies several important places. Belfort, a world heritage site is a 366 steps, squeezy climb up a tower. The view from the top is worth the effort. Just around the corner are also Gotische Zaal, a hall with carvings and murals depicting the city's history and Brugse Vrije, containing an immense chimney piece.
We next visited the Heilig-Bloedbasiliek (Basilica of the Holy Blood), getting its name from a relic containing Christ's blood.
We took a break at the highly recommended Craenenburg Cafe for cappuccino and waffles. A much deserved break! At last we visited a chocolate museum Choco Story. I just sat down watching a demo of how to make chocolates mostly! :D
Oh and did I mention plenty and plenty of chocolate stores, all over the place! Simply the best I have had so far!
For the rest of the evening we sat down at a corner, watched the people buzz by and relaxed! We wanted to somehow get to this highly recommended restaurant for dinner and got lost a bit. After going a complete circle, it turned out the place was just behind the corner bench we were sitting on :). And as we happily set two steps into the place, the waitress came to us to tell us that the place was fully booked! We walked back to the station and on the way spotted a Thai restaurant. The food in the end turned out to be just fine.
I slept most of the way back home. Even with 8 hours of travel, I had a grand time.