In Bruges, city guide, canal tour, amazing art, timescope, Chocolate and more Happiness

Jean revisits Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium near the cruise port of Zeebrugge. From there she takes the train on a two-for-one ticket! Arriving in Bruges 12 minutes later she cuts through the back doubles to Markt square. There she shows Historium, the view from the balcony, and climbs the 83m tower, a 13th-century belfry with a 47-bell carillon and shows the panoramic views. There is so much more from the Timescope, to the canal boat ride, to handmade shoes and the church of St Anna (Jesus’s grandmother) which is worth seeing whatever your beliefs as the art is amazing. Sint-Annarei is a poor church, away from the centre but more than worth the little effort. Saint Annas is Northwest of the Sint Annarei canal in the Historic Centre of Bruges. It is free to enter and there is normally someone there keen to explain things. It is normally open in the afternoons between 1 pm and 5 pm. The art makes St Anna’s stand out. The Last Temptation has been renovated at a huge cost as the work is 104 square meters. The statue of Mary, Jesus, and Anna (his grandmother) is a feature. The formal address is Sint-Annaplein, 8000 Brugge

In the Sint-Anna Quarter, you will also find working 18th-century windmills by the canal. Our Lady of the Pottery is a former hospital and Gothic-style church with art and religious relics. The Kantcentrum lace museum holds workshops. The Volkskundemuseum is a folk museum set in 17th-century buildings. The Jeruzalemkerk church resembles Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre.

Bruges was populated in Roman times, but the current city’s name appears for the first time in the 9th century, probably derived from the Old Germanic word ‘brugj’, which means ‘mooring’.

Bruges City Hall is one of the oldest city halls in the whole of the Low Countries region. It is in Burg Square and dates back to the 1420s. The vaulted domes of the interiors and the murals painted by Albrecht De Vriendt are worth a look. The Church of the Spilled Blood is also known as the Basilica of the Holy Blood. It is in the corner of De Burg square, The Romanesque exteriors with filigreed windows and gold statues hide inside an ornate interior, ignored in favour of a cloth stained with the blood of Jesus Christ brought to Bruges after the Crusades in the 12th century. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote The Belfry of Bruges, “In the marketplace of Bruges stands the belfry old and brown; Thrice consumed and thrice rebuilt, still, it watches o’er the town.” That is because it burned down in 1280, 1491, and 1781. Three times…. so, forget that it was built in 1220, with additions in 1240.

The interior is not in our film, but the exterior of the Church of Our Lady Bruges is seen from the canal boat. Said to have the most striking architectural feature in Bruges, it also has the marble sculpture of Madonna and child by Michelangelo – the most prestigious piece of art in town. There are also paintings by Sir Anthony Van Dyck and altarpiece triptychs. We will get to this next time. It goes to show how much there is to see in this small town. If you have time, Saint John’s Hospital (Hospitalmuseum) which was built in 1188 and pointed out from the canal tour, is now an art gallery. Originally a hospital for pilgrims run by nuns and monks from the 9th to 19th centuries, it now displays the works of Flemish artists.

The uCruise Podcast; join Jean and Stuart and see what they are up to in the world of cruising. See the cruise T-shirts in the onboard shop.

In Bruges it can appear that everything is made of chocolate.


Gino says, “you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate!” He should have been the 5th Beatle. Jean interviews Gino in his shop.

  • 0:00 – Intro by Jean Heard
  • 0:14 – Blankenberge
  • 1:05 – Bruges tourist office
  • 1:18 – Walk to Bruges
  • 2:32 – Boat Tour Office
  • 2:54 – Market Square
  • 3:42 – Carillion in Belfry
  • 4:30 – Dali Museum
  • 4:59 – Historium
  • 5:23 – Church of Spilled Blood
  • 6:00 – Jan van Eyck
  • 6:20 – Timescope
  • 6:30 – Friet Museum
  • 6:52 – Royal Municipal Theatre
  • 7:02 – Chris Vos Handmade shoes
  • 7:14 – Handbags
  • 7:35 – St Anna’s Church
  • 8:25 – The Last Judgement
  • 8:37 – Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  • 8:48 – Church of Our Lady
  • 9:10 – Canal Boat Tour 1
  • 3:30 – Chocolate
  • 14:25 – Chocolate & Happiness