Coming back from Asia, I only wanted one thing : keep on traveling. The problem is, I still have a job and I have used all my available holidays. Combine that with the little money left on my bank account… for now I can forget my big plans 😐
Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to go far to discover new places. For that matter, Begium is a good option when you live in Paris. I don’t want to go back to Brussels for the moment, and I have heard great things about a smaller city, on the shore, by the Netherlands’ border : Bruges.
We start our trip together with my friends Remy, Kelly and Frédéric on the Friday night. By car it takes us 3-4 hours to get there. Arriving around midnight, we take our first walk in the city to join our hostel and already find some good points of view on the way. We stop a few minutes to capture this night scene. Using a tripod, I set my camera to a 8s exposure and wait for a car to go into my frame so I can have nice light trails on the left, those white ghostly trails in the water are swans swimming around.
We’ve booked at the hostel Charlie Rocket’s, in the city center.
We’re right in time to have our first set of Belgian beers, and get the night started. I wasn’t expecting that, but there’s actually a lot going on in Bruges on a Friday night. I won’t lie to you, it’s not like it’s Berlin, you won’t be blown away by the music. But still, I was picturing this little quiet city, it turns out I was quite wrong ! Most of the night activity is located around Geernaartstraat, near the Grote market place and our hostel is also a great place to spend the night at actually, because you can meet both foreigners and locals there. Plus the music’s ok, and the bar closes at 6am ! 😆
After a few hours of restorative sleep, it’s time for us to explore Bruges. The sun is up and the weather’s great, we start by having a second look at Grote Markt, and its famous row of colorful houses. Those are typical from the Flanders region.
The city is gorgeous, but I wasn’t expecting to see so many tourists, it is a small town and gets busy very fast. In my opinions it would be a better idea to visit Bruges in autumn or spring, both for the colors and the quietness.
The city takes its nickname ‘Venice in the north’ from the profusion of canals in its center. It seems to me like a good mix between dutch an Belgian cities. Chilling by the water is very enjoyable, especially in the evening. The sun sets, and the buildings start being lit by artificial lights, it’s the best time to find a good point of view.
And finally, as the light is changing, I get back to my first subject, this time with a different angle. This one is my last and favorite shot 😏, now my friends are pressing me to put away my camera, another intense night awaits us !
On the Sunday we all agree to visit one of the city’s famous buildings : the Belfry (or Belfort in french), also located on the Grote market place. It’s open everyday until 5pm.You can buy an adult ticket for 8€, you’ll then be allowed to climb its 366 steps to the top and have an great panorama on the city. For this picture -with the 83 meters high tower in the background- I used a fairly slow shutter speed (around 1/100th of a second) in order to have a bit of movement blur on the horse’s foot.
As I said earlier, Bruges is a gorgeous city, but very touristy too. Try to avoid week-ends in may or in the summer, and you’ll see it is perfectly worth the trip !