When travelling in Europe it’s possible to get from one place to the next in a very short time. There are planes, ICE trains and fast ferries. But once we’ve arrived at our destination we like to enjoy our surroundings at a much slower pace.
The canal system around Bruges is perfect for slow travelling. When trading was in its heyday in the 16th century the canals were filled with barges and merchant ships. Now they’ve been replaced by boats full of admiring tourists; and during the day it seems as busy as ever. So we plan our escape to a more peaceful destination.
The tiny village of Damme is a mere six kilometres from Bruges but it may as well be a world away. To get from Bruges to Damme there is a perfectly good road and also a cycle and walking path that follows the canal bank. We decide to take the most relaxing way and buy €10.50 round trip tickets for the paddle boat Lamme Goedzak.
The 35 minute journey gives us the time to appreciate the beautiful scenery on either side of the canal as we sail along. Lush farmland and pretty cottages are interspersed with woodlands and windmills.
There’s the occasional waterbird and plenty of contented farm animals in the fields.
As we pass by, we wave to those on the path who are more energetic than we are.
When the boat arrives at Damme and ties up at the tiny wharf, we will stroll into the Markt along a cobbled street past ancient buildings.
At the end of the day we’ll return to bustling Bruges … and we’ll sit back, relax and let the boat captain do all the work.