In mid August I went with my girlfriend to Brugge, because there were an expositionof sand sculptures. They had been exposed first at the sea on the beach and then transferred to Brugge. When we saw those big sculptures we really wondered how it was possible to carry them from the sea to Brugge. Unfortunately nobody could give us an answer on that.
The sculptures were made out of Rhine sand and were in amazing good conditions, although it had rained a lot as usual in Belgium. Here now some of them were protected under a huge tent.
The sculptures had been made by different artists from all over the world and were very impressif. The smallest details such as a little bread or whatever had been respected. Of course every statue had its story, especially those with the dragon which were interesting for children too.
I just remember one, where a husband, fat up of his wife locked her in a prison and hang a plate on a cord from the sealing, but as she was tied up she couldn't reach the plate. So she starved and until today comes back in the night to haunt the castle where this lovable husband lived. I just thought about visiting the castle during the night to meet her.
A dragon and the poor wife that can't reach the food ___________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ After the exposition we went through Brugge and discovered what beautiful town it was. The houses and buildings had been all restored and were very old, some of them decorated with gold. All over the city were canals and tourist boats or others which drove through and people admired the beautiful houses all along the canals. We also took a boat and made a tour and it was really worthwhile. Besides the traditional churches, my attention was drawn to a convent where, as the guide explained, a film with Audrey Hepburn was made where she plays a nun.
The boat was filled with a lot of american and english tourists and the poor guide explained everything in english, dutch and german like a machine gun so I couldn't understand a lot. But it was anyway very interesting. Under the smallest bridge of Brugge, we had to bend our heads, otherwise we would have come out with big bumps or even worse.
After that we went to the market place which is also very beautiful and surrounded by restaurants and cafés. There are a lot of shopping streets too and the tourists were looking for the famous Brugge laces. Of course there were many shops for them.
Bruges is the historic capital of the province of West Flanders, Flanders, being one of the three regions of Belgium. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in Europe and is also called "Venice of the North". Bruges has a long tradition of international port activity. The oldest trade settlement of Bruges and the early medieval port were accessible from the sea until around 1050. Now it's about 20 km far from the sea as the sea has retreated.
Bruges had been a commercial centre for Europe. With the trade a wool market, a woollens weaving industry, and the market for cloth and spices.
But after a decline during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Brugge recovered to an extent during the sixteenth century. However, the city had lost its leading trade position to Antwerp. The split from the Netherlands around 1858 led to the final decline of Bruges.
It gradually disappeared from the picture and George Rodenbach even named it 'Bruges-la-Morte', meaning 'Bruges-the-dead'. Only in the second half of the twentieth century has the city started to renovate the whole town and to get back a little of the old glory. International tourism has boomed tremendously and new efforts have resulted in Bruges being designated 'cultural capital of Europe' in 2002.
And it is really worthwhile to visit !
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