Take A Trip Through Time
If you squint just a little bit, you can imagine Bruges in medieval times, when it was a leading light in the cloth trade. Although much of the city’s architecture is a recreation of older buildings, the combination of ancient and new is almost seamless. Take away the cars and the electric lighting and you could be in the 15th century.
We press on to the Markt, Bruges’ principal main square. Overlooked by the mighty Belfort, one of Belgium’s most famous landmarks, the Markt is host to a selection of mostly late 19th century recreations of medieval gabled buildings, all subtly different from each other. During the day the Markt is just another tourist attraction, full of cafes, waffle stalls and souvenirs, but with added darkness its real grandeur comes alive, looming over us through the murky skies.
Descent Into Darkness
We drive through to the Burg, where we retired for coffee all those hours ago. It too is deserted now. We stop in front of the beautiful Basilica of the Holy Blood, the city’s most holy shrine and home to a phial that reputedly contains the blood of Christ. Then the lights in the square go out suddenly at midnight and we’re plunged into darkness.
We head for the comfort of street lighting and continue south, taking in the city’s central canals before gunning down to the Astridpark and the stunning Magdalena church.
It’s getting chilly now, and it’s time to call it a night. We point the car north and wind our way back through the deserted narrow streets, past the beautifully kept houses, along the bottle-green canals, past the homely restaurants and cosy bars, and head towards a good night’s sleep. Who’d have thought a night-time tour of Bruges could’ve gone so well?