Tag Archive | Flanders

Market Day In Bruges

The Markt in the centre of Bruges is surrounded by lavishly ornamented Gothic buildings including the Belfry, the City Hall and the Provincial Palace and usually it’s overflowing with tourists.

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They come to admire the architecture, absorb the history and enjoy a waffle or a serve of friets from one of the many cafes or vans. On Wednesdays though, the tourists have to compete for space with the vendors who come to sell their fresh food and flowers – it’s market day!

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Fruit and vegetables from around the world are sold at the grocers’ stalls while local cheeses and meat, spicy sausages, fresh bread and smoked fish are available too.

The variety of beautiful flowers is amazing and so is the price – so little for such glorious abundance!

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In September it’s impossible to leave before buying some enormous strawberries and sweet jewelled raspberries – waffles and friets are not on the lunch menu today!

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Tootling Along

Belgium is famous for its beautiful cities filled with medieval architecture, chocolate shops and breweries. While all of those are wonderful experiences, a day spent riding on the Coastal Tram is a great way to leave the bustling tourist areas behind and explore the coast of Flanders.

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The tram line is in its 128th year of service and at 69 km is the longest in the world. It runs between Knokke-Heist in northern Flanders and De Panne in the south, with 70 stops along the way. A day ticket costs €5 and includes unlimited travel and stops. Many of the stops are in the centre of towns or close to beaches and walking paths, and the trams run every 15 minutes so it’s easy to get off and explore for a while before travelling further.

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Along the way there are many treasures to be discovered. The Belgium Pier in Blankenberge was built in 1933 and stretches into the North Sea for 350 metres.

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Rows of beach huts stand deserted on the beach at Blankenberge in September, especially when the weather doesn’t favour swimming or sunbathing.

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The Grand Hotel Belle Vue, not far from the tram stop in the centre of De Haan, was a favourite with Albert Einstein when he lived there for a few months in 1933.

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In Oostende, take the time to visit the Sint Petrus-en-Pauluskerk; the Church of St Peter and St Paul. With its gothic façade it looks old, but it was only completed in 1908. The original stained glass was destroyed during WW2 and has since been replaced by modern works designed by Michiel Martens.

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Enjoy wandering along the harbour and seafront in Oostende and admire the many yachts moored there.

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To complete this day of leisurely travel on the Coastal Tram, find the nearest chocolate shop or beer garden. After all, you are in Belgium!