Flemish Cities

July 2004

I showed my Russian friend Daria around Flanders' historical cities. We shot hundreds of pictures with our digicams, this is a selection.

Brugge - Gent - Antwerpen

Brugge (Bruges)

Brugge is one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities. Once a major harbour, the city got frozen in time in the 15th century when its river dried up and it lost its connection to the rest of the world.
Brugge means Bridges, and unsurprisingly most of our photos are taken on the medieval city's many picturesque bridges.
Inside the 13th century Church of Our Lady we spent quite some time looking for the Michelangelo painting "Madonna and Child" before we realised it was actually a statue.
These two pictures were taken simultaneously :)
Two sides of the same bridge...
Unfortunately it was too cold to go swimming...
By the time we got to the city center it got cloudy so we didn't get many good pictures there.

Gent (Ghent)

During the late Middle Ages Gent was one of the biggest cities in Europe, and it still has a big historic center to show for it. We went there while the Gentse Feesten, a big street festival, was going on, so it was very busy and lively.
The first thing we did was climb the tower of the St. Baafs Cathedral. I've climbed church towers everywhere in Europe but this is still my favourite: the narrow spiraling staircase is endless, you get to stand on top of the roof (very nice on windy days), and you get a great view on the nearby Belfry.

Next we visited the 12th century Gravensteen, the castle of the counts of Flanders. It was constructed by a Flemish count who had just returned from a crusade and was inspired by the crusader castles he'd seen in the Middle East. Having just visited 9 of those castles over there, I was very interested in visiting this one again (last time I was a kid), and I must say I was impressed; this castle ranks among the best I've seen.

On the Graslei a collection of old guild houses watches over a canal...

Some pictures taken around Gent:

This was a great day, Gent rocks!

Antwerpen (Antwerp)

Antwerp is my hometown and I already wrote about it elsewhere (cfr. About menu on the news page). We spent some time in the center every day but never got to do a full tour.

Daria wanted to try all Belgian specialties and did a good job:
She spent a fortune on Belgian chocolates too, but despite a reminder on her mobile we forgot to try speculoos.

One evening we got some great pictures of the Cathedral of Our Lady:
The cathedral has a little onion dome, and I just had to get a picture of my Russian guest with that :)
We also visited the St. Paul's Church:
From July 21st-24th the world's biggest sailing boats gathered in Antwerp for the start of the Tall Ships Race 2004 (from Antwerp to somewhere in Denmark). The biggest boat is Russian (most of the biggest ones are actually) so Daria was beaming with pride...
Some pictures around town:
And one from my place:


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