Brussels or Bruges

Old Apr 6th, 2013, 02:46 PM
  #21  
 
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"Is it even a valid question?"

Well, when you read the whole question and take into consideration what the loves:

"love museums, local cuisine, chocolate, architecture, interesting churches or cathedrals and simply meandering along the streets for local sights."

Bruges only has chocolate and meandering. That is well accomplished in Brussels. Not in Bruges, which she may find quaint but boring.

Feeling like a big museum is not seeing the new Magritte Museum or visiting the Horta.
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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I disagree with you... Bruges has some great restaurants Pro Deo... Ribs 'n beer... Den Huzaar

The medieval architecture is breath taking all over town!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...ddle-Ages.html
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 05:36 PM
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We have been both places. Check my trip report on Amsterdam (plus Bruges and Brussels)

www.rimerson.com
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 06:01 PM
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Bruges offers everything that the OP enjoys.
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 06:38 PM
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As I have never been to Brussels, I am somewhat disqualified from replying. However, my wife and I have been to Bruges on our way from Amsterdam to Paris, and I can tell you that Bruges, in my opinion, is worth more than just a day trip. After the day trippers take off in large buses and night falls on Bruges, the old town acquires another life, a different breath. You really do have your medieval fairy tale, many streets almost entirely to yourself.

Also, I have to disagree, respectfully, with those who say that there are no museums in Bruges. There is the Groeningemuseum, which has a collection of early-Renaissance Flemish paintings--being small, it is not overwhelming and you can easily see everything without getting circles in your eyes. Then there is Hans Memling's museum, also worth a visit if you really enjoy the art of the epoch.

We arrived in Bruges on a Saturday afternoon and left Monday morning--and have not been bored at all.

Food for thought!
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 06:43 PM
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I haven't been to Brussels, but Bruges is magical, especially in the evenings after the daytrippers leave. We visited it as a side trip from Paris last summer and it was just the perfect thing. It has a great selection of all of your interests, set in unbelievable medieval surroundings. As a break between two great cities, it would be perfect--a little pause from city life.
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 07:21 PM
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Thank you all for the suggestions of places to visit and eat. Now I would like to do both places if possible
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 07:53 PM
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My favorite restaurant in Bruges was Pieter Pourbus.

www.pieterpourbus.com

These are the sites that were on my Bruges itineray:

- 4 remaining windmills outside walls

- 4 remaining Medieval City Gates: Gentpoort, Kruisport, Ezelpoort, and Smedepoort - Beginning of 15th Century

- Canal Cruise on De Lamme Goedzaak - Sails between Bruges and Damme - 45 minutes

- Cathedral - Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilig Bloedbasilick) "Blood of Jesus.? The chapel of the Holy Blood is actually a double chapel which can be visited on the 'Burg' square in Bruges. One can enter the church on the first floor where the Holy Blood is kept via the 'Steeghere' which is a beautifully decorated façade behind which a staircase leads to the first floor. The relic is shown to the public every Friday. Reliquary can be seen in the Museum of the Holy Blood next door to the Holy Blood Chapel. Gorgeous chapel!!!

- Town Hall and Burg Square, Office of the Town Clerks (Oude Griffie), and justice buildings - Go inside! One of the most beautiful buildings of Bruges can be seen her: the gothic town hall from 1376 is one of most beautiful bldgs in Belgium

- Huidenvettersplein has some of the best restaurants in the city and the VIEW over the waters of the Burgundian Cross is STUNNING

- Some old patrician houses still have window panes of Venetian glass House # 7 on Dijiver is worth noting.

- The Groeninge Museum -Small museum in both size and collection, quality is fantastic! Collection of Flemish masters. Museum's masterpiece is 'The Madonna with Canon Joris van der Paele', which Van Eyck painted in 1436. 'Death of the Holy Virgin' by Hugo van der Goes, and 'The Altar of Saint Christopher' by Hans Memling, Located in a former Augustian monestary

- The Gruuthuse Museum - Furniture, tapestries, silver, etc. of life in the 16th and 17th C Bruges

- Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk - Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold tombs and several Old Master paintings are the highlight. Don't miss Michelangelo's Madonna & Child sculpture (only Michelangelo sculpture to leave Italy during his lifetime. Largest Gothic church in low countries built in 13th C. Served as royal wedding chapels to dukes of Burgundy.

- Holy Savior's Cathedral (St. Salvatorskathedraal)- The other major church, also houses Burgundian masterpieces. Gothic choir stalls. Founded in 646.

- Canal Ride/tour -Neat to see town from canal and offers a good overview of the historic center

- De Halve Maan Brewery beer tour and tasting

- Hospital Museum - St. John's Hospital (Memlingmuseum housed the 13th C St. Janshospitaal)

- Minnewater -Minnewater and its lovely park are the entrance to the beautiful city of Bruges. The Minnewater is a canalized lake. From the bridge (1740) one can already enjoy a nice panoramic view over the town. Because of the idyllic surroundings it is mostly referred to as 'the lake of Love', the Dutch word 'Minne' meaning 'love'.

- Beginhof ( Prinselijk Begijnhof ten Wijnarde)- One of the most enchanting nooks in Bruges: Beguines residence founded in 1245. Just behind the Minnewater lies the Beguinage 'De Wijngaard' (= the Vineyard). It is one of those typical areas in Bruges where one can find more peace and quiet than in the sometimes busy and overcrowded streets of the town center. The Beguinage is a group of houses around a little garden covered with large poplar trees. It was here that during the last seven centuries lived the beguines of Bruges. In 1937 the beguinage became a monastery for the Benedictine sisters who still live here now.

- Kantcentrum (lace center)- you can buy lace and watch the craft being practiced

- Streets and Alleys north of Markt - Spanjardstraat leads to oldest bridge in city, you also see Spaanse Looskai, Oosterlingenplein and the Natiehaus (Nation House of Genoa). Headqtrs of Florentines at corner of Vlamingstraat and Academiestraat (now chic restaurant), Venetian residence down street a bit further.

- Old Customs House - is one of most beautiful and ornately decorated gothic bldgs of Bruges on Academiestraat.

- Chocolate Museum and Frites Museum

- Fish market and craft stalls

- Market square and belfry tower - completely refurbished and is now one of the most attractive parts of the city. The main monument is of course the belfry tower and the cloth hall. On the Northern side of the Market is the Provincial Court.
The belfry tower charms the visitor with the lovely music of a carillion, which consists of 47 bells. 366 steps to top for a beautiful view!

- Church of St Anne's - a great, classic early 20th century Belgian residential neighborhood

- Jerusalem church - has preserved its original style almost completely. The beautiful stained glass windows date from 1482 and 1560. Behind the lower altar is a small space which suggests the tomb of Christ.
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 08:01 PM
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JoNnyc, how long would it take you to see everything on your Bruges list?
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Old Apr 6th, 2013, 08:22 PM
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SF7307, I saw most of it during a 3 night stay. Wished I had a couple of more days there!

Dropped some of the lesser interesting things (to me) such as the chocolate and frites museums, the boat ride, fish market wasn't on while I was there (but did see the market day down by the NH Hotel/bus station). Skipped the lace center.

But, did everything else with plenty of time stopping for beer tastings!

Absolutely loved Bruges!
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 04:16 PM
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That's very helpful, thanks.
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 05:16 PM
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Thank you so much,joannyc for all your suggestions and information. There's so much to do and see.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 03:43 AM
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I think you could find what you want in either location. Other posters have explained some of the differences. My TR from the fall of 2011 gives ideas of what to see in Brussels. IMO that city has a lot to offer--certainly more than a day's worth of sights.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Thanks Vttraveler. I'll have to look it up.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 12:52 PM
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Bruges! Every year at Christmas when we decorate our tree I am reminded of how much we loved Bruges! We brought back lace ornaments for us and our children.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 06:05 PM
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I looked up your TR and took notes of the places you went in Brussels.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 04:30 AM
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You didn't mention a big interest in beer but if you like beer at all, Belgium is the place to drink it. There is a link at the end of my TR to another thread with suggestions about beers to try.

I should also warn you that I think the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren is now closed or about to be closed for renovation.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 04:19 PM
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Thanks for the heads up.
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