After spending a day in Antwerp, Brugges was positively pristine…and also really, really dull. I didn’t expect to have that reaction at all. My impressions of it from last time was that it was really beautiful, had nice canals, lots of lace stores and a great Tin Tin shop. And all of those points still hold true. It was different this time because of me I think – and also the fact that Brugges was completely over-run by tourists. It was popular last time I visited but this time it was even more packed.
There’s no denying that it’s a gorgeous place and I totally understand why people would want to stop there. But after three hours there this time, I felt pretty bored. There were two main squares where all the visitors congregate…and if you step about fifty metres outside it you find that it’s pretty dead and you’re also asked if you’re lost by kind passers-by. And you also realise that the real Brugges outside the medieval town centre is a modern bustling city with lots of cars. I probably shouldn’t have come back because in fact, I’ve already been a tourist here and done the canal tour and bought some lace…so there was nothing left for me to see this time.
I guess the good thing is I now realise that medieval towns just aren’t my thing – nor are purely pretty towns that feel a bit staid. I like towns that don’t just gear everything towards tourists. It’s real cities that I like – not ones that preserve some sort of old world fantasy.