It is often said that the important thing is not the destination, but the journey. This turned out to be true when my basic plan for the weekend was to go to Marrakech, Morocco. Unfortunately, due to a storm in the Netherlands, the flight was canceled 15 minutes before boarding, leaving us no option to take another flight.
Somewhat disappointed, Hope and I decided to return to our classes. However, again because of this storm, public transport had stopped operating throughout the Netherlands. So we were stuck at Eindhoven Central Station, unable to catch our plane to Morocco or return home to Amsterdam. Every minute that passed was getting worse and worse. So our day consisted of drinking free coffee and aimlessly walking around Eindhoven.
After 7 hours stuck here, my brother called us and informed us that he was on his way to Bruges for the weekend with his girlfriend, asking if we would be up to go with them.
This required a small detour, but our journey was finally able to continue, in the rain, taking us to Bruges.
Once there, we immediately went to taste a local beer, then another… And surely many more. The bars of Bruges are very “gezellig”. (meaning “warm, good atmosphere”)
The main square is called “ de Grote Markt ” and the best place for a drink is 2 minutes away on foot, at “ Eiermarkt ” which is a typical small square. This is where I took the first photo of our trip: the “ Halletoren ” at night.
The next day, the storm and rain completely left, giving way to blue skies. Starting the day with a Belgian waffle was by far the best idea. This little indulgence is typical of Belgian gastronomy and you can find it anywhere in Bruges.
We didn't have an exact plan of what we wanted to do, but as the center of Bruges is very beautiful, just wandering around the city gave us some great photo opportunities: the little colorful houses, the church towers, the canals and chocolate shops are very photogenic. There are two little pink houses on the Grand-Place that caught my attention and really stood out. That said, all the houses found in Bruges are worth the detour.
The Super Fisheye lens was particularly useful for capturing the houses in a rather unique way. It allowed us to capture two or three houses entirely, just by standing a few meters away, while still capturing what surrounds them like the tiny alleys.
What is good about Bruges is that the city center is very concentrated and very accessible on foot: no need for public transport, taxis or bicycles. This was truly a godsend for us since the sun was starting to set, which meant golden hour was waiting for us.
Golden hour is the period just before sunset or sunrise. This is ideal for taking photos as the light is warm and the shadows are beautiful during this short period of time. This allowed me to capture lots of important places like the towers, the Grand Place and the canals which are quite close to each other.
Another revelation was discovering Bruges at night, because the city is perfectly illuminated and particularly the two towers which stand out with their orange/yellow hues.
There is also an old house with a restaurant that can be seen from the Rozenhoedkaai (Rosary Embankment) which has a tree completely decorated with lights, making it a great place to photograph at night.
What makes it special is the belfry in the background. This place offers a great view and the neighborhood also has a few Michelin star restaurants.
So even though Bruges wasn't Marrakech, it was still good.
Belgian gastronomy, its architecture, its population, the good beer and the nice bars contributed to a great experience.
So you don't need to jump on a plane to see great things and have a great weekend: the best places can be just a stone's throw away.