Tag Archives: Brugge

The One About Beer

My word – it feels like forever ago that I promised this post. I am choosing to blame the real world for my delinquency. When I returned to the real world last week it had all of this ‘stuff’ waiting for me. Isn’t that the worst part of returning from vacation? It is for me… especially this vacation because it means I’m required to do more than drink beer and eat chocolate (and read Game of Thrones).

Tasting Flight @ Cambrinus

Those that know me know I am NOT a beer girl. I never have been and I never thought I would be. Then I went to Belgium and had a lambic. If I had only known that lambics were the candy of beer (and pink!), I would have started consuming them years ago.  And the best part of Belgium is that they have lambics on every menu (along with other beers of course).

I’m in love with a lambic and I don’t care who knows it.

The first place we went for beers in Brugge was a fabulous pub (recommended by the Scotts) – Cambrinus. The menu had 49 lambic options and the lambic section was the smallest. If you have never had a lambic, it has heavy fruit undertones and cherry seems to be the most popular fruit. Danimal was in beer heaven here – over 400 options – not to mention that it has the infamous Westvleteren 12 (aka the ‘Westy 12’). Apparently Westy 12 is widely regarded as the “best beer in the world”.  It is pricey, but worth it because of the taste and the fact that it is nearly impossible to find.

Andrew atop the brewery

Located just south of Market Square, Danimal and I made a visit to De Halve Maan Brewery. This brewery has been in the family for four generations and in the same location. We have never been on a vacation where we didn’t visit at least one winery or brewery, and this one was definitely worth it. Andrew was a phenomenal tour guide and after the hour-long tour you are rewarded with a beer. Danimal deemed the winning beers from this brewery their Tripel and the Straffe Hendrick Quad. (ATL folks… you can find the quad at Green’s.)

Lord Danimal of Winterfell

Our final night in Brugge we headed over to the ‘oldest pub in Brugge’ – Herberg Vlissinghe. It may have been because I was immersed in Game of Thrones during this trip, but I felt like I walked into a pub in Winterfell. It is more removed location-wise than other places we had been and felt like we were in on a little secret. It isn’t big so make sure you go early to get a seat or just be fine waiting for a moment.

Proof that I drank beer – and enjoyed it.

I would like to say I have had a beer since I’ve been back, but I haven’t. It is only a matter of time though, my Aggies are playing LSU this weekend and I feel like it will be needed.

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Art + Money = Medieval Church

Since Brugge is a fantastic specimen of medieval architecture, this also means incredible churches and artwork. My fascination with the relationship between the church, art and the middle ages began when I lived in Italy. I had an incredible Italian Art History professor that made it come alive. Because patrons of the church were church officials and/or from the most prominent families, a large number of paintings from this period are found in churches as large frescoes and sculptures. (This also means you have portraits of prominent families being oddly featured as part of religious scenes.) So without further delay, some of the most fascinating churches in Brugge…

Church of Our Lady

View from the Chancel

This church has one of the only Michaelangelo sculptures to have left Italy during his lifetime. The sculpture is the big draw, but my favorite part was the above ground tombs in the chancel. Also, talk about medieval folks thinking that money bought holiness- the neighbor of this church had a bridge built over the church with a private chapel overlooking the altar so his family didn’t have to mix with the commoners. So fabulously medieval (and ridiculous)…

Basilica of the Holy Blood

The blood is inside.

This chapel contains a phial that reputedly contains Christ’s blood brought back from the Crusades.You can’t take pictures inside this church, so you will have to settle for outside shots only. But, when we were inside we got to see the blood phial placed atop a bright red pillow by the priest inside a gilded box.

St. Savior’s Cathedral

My Favorite

This one is the oldest parish church in Brugge and was my favorite (perhaps because it was the first one we went in). I loved that you could see the painstaking restoration that was very much in progress. Did I miss my calling? Maybe I was meant to sit on scaffolding for years recreating one painted halo.

Neon Church

Neon + Old School

Because I couldn’t read the signs, I could never figure out the name of this church. But when Danimal and I walked in we were shocked to see this incredibly modern neon art display alongside the traditional art and architecture of the church. I think it captured so much of what the church struggles with today as it tries to share its message in a changing society.

Jerusalem Church

But how do you get inside!!!

I wish I had more pictures of this church. It is rumored to be very different and based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This church is also attached to the Lace Museum. Unfortunately, we easily found our way to the Lace Museum, but never found the way into the church. Unless you are over the moon obsessed with lace, I think you will probably agree that this is the worst museum in the history of museums. I don’t remember the last time I was that bored.

Yes, I realize I just did an entire post about old churches and art… my nerd flag is waving proudly right now. Poor Danimal finally requested that we not go in anymore old churches unless they were really cool.  I plan to redeem myself tomorrow with a post about beer.

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Positively Medieval

After much debate, I am honored to present Brugge with the prestigious award  of “Cutest Town in the World”.  Myself, Danimal, our travel agent, Paul Henry, and the Scotts made up this elite judging panel. I know you don’t know all of them, but you can trust them – most of the time. The town has the majority of its medieval architecture still intact and that is what draws you in the moment you arrive.

Market Square

Brugge radiates from two large squares – the Market and Brug. From an urban design perspective, I love the activity around the squares. Unfortunately, these are also the most touristy parts of the City. Once you go and experience the squares, be sure to move along to other side streets and canals to find the better restaurants and better prices.

View from the top of De Halve Moon Brewery

Other parts of the town are touristy as well, but when touristy translates to chocolate shop after chocolate shop and pub after pub… I’m more than okay with that. We tried many of the chocolate shops throughout Brugge and we both agree that Chocolaterie Sukerbuyc is the best. The chocolate was the smoothest, had the best fillings and the most variety.

A rare moment not eating chocolate.

If you are able to tear yourself away from beer and chocolate long enough, there are incredible museums worth a visit. My personal favorite was the Picasso Expo and not just because I love art. More than any Picasso exhibit I’ve seen before, this one focused on the relationship he had with other artists, such as Miro and Matisse, and how they influenced each other.

Enjoying Picasso

If I begin to talk about the beer and churches now, this post would go on forever. So I will stop myself her because I may or may not need another beer.

The White Queen… on location

[Author’s Note: PLEASE let The White Queen on BBC be the next Downton Abbey – if for no other reason than we can say it was filming in Brugge while we were here.]

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