Bruges: A fairy-tale sojourn

Romantic cobble stoned streets, dreamy canals, crooked bridges, comfy sidewalk cafes, houses looking like made of gingerbread, charming market square, and an eclectic melange of art, culture, and history, sure no city can get more lovey-dovey than this. Bruges has for long been pulling visitors with its medieval world charm. And all one needs is a leisurely stroll to enjoy this Belgian city. Bruges is so small, and packed with heritage, that there is absolutely no need to rush or get stressed to see everything. Bruges feels a museum, seamlessly alluring one with its splendid church spires, and the old fairy-tale, regal French touch.

Cobbled pathways of Bruges
Bruges has for long been pulling visitors with its medieval world charm

As I was told, Bruges jumped to top the travelers’ chart after the release of a dark comedy about two Irish hit men ‘In Bruges’. The character of Collin Farrell concluded in the closing scene “Maybe that’s what hell is: the entire rest of eternity spent in Bruges”. In reality, though, Bruges is different from this description. It is tranquil but never fails to show a side of ambition with young chefs with refined tastes exhibiting a medley of European cultures, chocolatiers setting sweeter targets with their culinary finesse, and local beer pubs stocked with meticulously curated selections of rare Belgian beers, giving Bruges a contemporary charm. And the cobble-stoned narrow streets, the historic churches, and the whistles and taps of the horse carriages taking tourists around, add to the fairy-tale beauty of this town.

To see the prettiest parts of the town, wander along the Dijver canal, snaking through the town.
To see the prettiest parts of the town, wander along the Dijver canal, snaking through the town.

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Going cuckoo for a magical charm of Ghent

Ghent might be less renowned than its classy neighbor Bruges, but it is still bags full of history and culture. Being a university town, it is buzzier and looks less Disneyfied than Bruges. Across its canals, are endless opportunities to lose oneself in its narrow lanes, that take you to fascinating squares with splendid churches, magnificent castles, and comfortable cafes and bars. In the Middle Ages, Ghent grew both in reputation and riches on cloth and wool and was the second-biggest town in Europe, after Paris. Today the medieval heritage still lives, on an old merchants’ street that runs along the bank of the Leie River. The street is steeped with Gothic guild houses with stepped roofs and ornately carved facades. And a little east of this street, are two of Ghent’s great monuments, St. Nicholas church and St. Bavo Cathedral, a splendid display of riches, and dexterity in craftsmanship Ghent has seen.

The old churches of Ghent, Belgium
Ghent is bags full of history and culture
Graslei on the river Leie in Ghent, Belgium
The old churches of Ghent
Across its canals, are endless opportunities to lose oneself in its narrow lanes, which take you to fascinating squares with splendid churches, magnificent castles, and comfortable cafes and bars.
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