Only a week ago we were enjoying our Easter break in Bruges. Crowds were thronging the central sights, and quite a few restaurants and shops were closed, as they often are on Sundays. So Easter Sunday felt like a good opportunity to escape into calmer surroundings and take some time to slow down an enjoy the beautiful city and some of its most tranquil parts.
We had a walk along the moat at the edge of Bruges and came to Lake Minnewater. We took a lovely stroll around the park as it was tentatively nudging into spring and crossed over the Minnewaterbrug. Legend has it that if you walk over the bridge with your loved one and kiss them, it will become eternal love. Looking back out over the lake and the park is a stunning view – a perfect place to just sit whiling away some time and eating a chocolate or two.
This old preserved beguinage actually no longer has any beguines (lay religious women who lived together in communities but didn’t take formal vows), but is now used as a convent by Benedictine nuns.
White houses line a small grass square
which in Spring is full of daffodils. The signs ask for silence which unfortunately isn’t always respected by tourist groups, but by and large results in a fairly tranquil haven for a short walk. It didn’t feel appropriate to linger for too long given the purpose of the Begijnhof, but I’m glad we saw the daffodils.
Wandering Canals and Streets
There’s nothing quite like aimlessly strolling around and happening upon pretty streets that we otherwise wouldn’t have seen. It’s was also a brilliant way to let go and relax, and not feel like there was somewhere to be or something to do. We were soaking up the city and the architecture, just in our own time. If we hadn’t wandered slightly off the beaten track we wouldn’t necessarily have found the beautiful pharmacy building, or some of the rows of colourful shop/house fronts.
Finding the Windmills
We took a walk to the moat to the North East of the center to find windmills. It somehow feels like the edge of the world once you get to the moat, despite being able to see life on the other side. It just seems to feel miles away.
The two windmills stand proudly atop grassy mounds to give them their height and are just a short walk apart. Kids were playing on the green between them and there was this lovely, infectiously happy atmosphere.
Staying in Bruges for a few days, rather than just one or two, is ideal because you can find some space to relax and just wander. Just what we needed last weekend!
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