I have planned a three day tour of some European Christmas Markets. We crossed the English Channel via the Euro Tunnel and headed straight to Bruge, Belgium. The first market of our tour.
The Belfry of Bruges (Dutch: Belfort van Brugge) is a medieval bell tower in the centre of Bruges, Belgium. One of the city's most prominent symbols,the belfry formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger. A narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps, accessible by the public for an entry fee,leads to the top of the 83 m (272 feet) high building, which leans 87 centimeters to the east.
To the sides and back of the tower stands the former market hall, a rectangular building only 44 m broad but 84 m deep, with an inner courtyard. The belfry, accordingly, is also known as the Halletoren (tower of the halls).
The street below is where our Air B&B is located. It’s about a 8 minute walk to the town center.
Absolutely no idea what’s going on here
I had to show off my favorite chocolate shop, Dumon.
Perhaps Bruges' smoothest, creamiest chocolates are at Dumon. Nathalie Dumon runs the original shop, just north of the town's central square, with Madame Dumon still dropping by to help make their top-notch chocolate daily and sell it fresh.
The Christmas Market
Waffles were first made in the Middle Ages, and were sold as crispy and rich street-side snacks by vendors outside Churches in Belgium. Agriculture was the main subsistence pattern then, and barley and oats were quite easily available to use as ingredients. In fact, King Charles IX of France said that the vending stalls had to be kept at a safe distance from one another, because the eating of waffles had become such a popular phenomenon.
We often misconstrue the waffles made in Belgium to be of one type. This is not the case. There are, in fact, two types of waffles that originated in Belgium. These are known as the Brussels waffles and Liege waffles.
The Brussels waffle is what is most commonly known as the Belgian waffle in the United States. It was introduced to the USA at the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC by Maurice Vermersch as the ‘Belgian Waffle’, since most Americans did not even know where Brussels was. The Liege waffle is the other type, more common in Belgium, and known for its rich, sticky texture that is accentuated with every bite.
This square was the medieval commercial centre of the city. Without any doubt one of the city's most impressive monuments is the Belfry and Cloth Hall and on the north side the Provincial Palace, nowadays being the seat of West Flanders Provincial Court. Previously on this spot was the medieval Water Halls, which were covered halls where commercial ships could unload products for storage or for sale at the market (hence the name Markt/Market Square).
Sampling some of the local cuisine