Thursday, 16 August 2007














Brugge is the capital of the province of West-Flanders in Belgium. A medieval city, rich in history, culture and architecture, called the Venice of the North because it is riddled with canals and small bridges. The Governor’s residence (1) on the Market square, the Belfry all carry the emblems (2), often great care and creativity went into the details.(3)

The inhabitants are known for their pride and great sense of humour.

It is well known, that in 1301 King Philip the Fair was received gloriously in Bruges. Bruges was wealthy and the women proud, they had dressed for the occasion in all their finery…

Alas, his spouse, Johanna of Navarra shouted "I thought I was the only empress, but I can see them here by hundreds!"

Heavy was the punishment which resulted ingreat unrest and the Brugse Metten and later the Battle of the Gilded Spurs

A lot of proud women adorn the walls of buildings, reminding us, carved in stone. (4, 5, 6)

Here is another aspect of a city that some people dare to say from, 'that there is nothing left to photograph'! It has ALL been photographed a zillion times…. Maybe, but not by me it hasn’t.

Who do you photograph for in your free time?
There is a tiny street in Brugge called 'The Blind Donkey street'??? Tee hee.

If you look, you will see; the light is never the same twice?

It is always a thrill for me to return to the city where I was born.
Melancholic, nostalgic, yes, the streets are filled with the ghosts of loved ones.

Sitting on the wall along one of the canals, (7) I lift my face into the sun, I close my eyes, I see them, passing briefly and furtively in front of my screening eyelids, refracted by the tears, caused by the blinding light and intense deep emotion.

These people are forever part of these walls, stones and streets.

I love the non-touristy places, where there is silence, where I can hear the sound of distant voices and laughter, the echoes of familiar footsteps, where I can recall, the little blond girl, at the hand of a grown-up, looking up, always full of questions...

But it is also a happy reunion and revisit of places that are so dear to me and so filled with joy and happiness.

This is the Potterierei, a place where my paternal grand-mother, my quite formidable godmother used to drag me, I never knew why, it was way out of the familiar neighbourhood, I remember the slippery cobblestones… no footpaths on those narrow streets.

It is a along one of the canals (8), dappled sunlight flecking walls and windows, highlighting both the sunflowers inside and the cobweb (9). Yes, it is mid summer, the webs are old or the spiders are early?

More on a green door, it looks like it’s long not been used! (10)

I walk on under the rustling leaves, weaving different patterns on the houses. I love the light-play, on more doors, one with a decorative knocker (11), and another with the typical ancient door-spy (12)… Brugge has lived through many dangerous times in its long existence for almost 2000 years!

It was invaded by about everybody in Europe, so many influences, arts and languages, no wonder we are such a resourceful and industrious people, our Flemish such a wonderful and colourful mix, with words and expressions that are so very pithy.

I suddenly spot another old tradition, which I though was long gone… The public announcement on the wall of the church, that someone has passed, who they were and when you can say good-bye…

Sometimes the wind and rain takes care of things if it’s on for too long, I see some remnants of older notices… (13)

Again, the city where I was born, that I know so well, that is so much part of me, that I am so much part of.
Forget the touristy spots, the picture postcard pretty, beautiful as they are. Forget the beer (if you can?), the chocolate (mmm???), all that is necessary for commercial survival...
Let me take you to the corner of two narrow cobbled streets, the white washed house with crow-stepped gable roof, the ornate hanging old lantern, which once used to work on gas...

I remember the lamplighters charged with the task of lighting the lamp at night and extinguishing it in the morning, snuffing out the light, going around with their long burning torch! As a child I did not like the acrid smell!

Yes it’s good to go back once in a while and revisit…

Thanx, M, (*_*)


Rui M Leal said...

Dear Magda,

great blog you've got here.

Feel free to visit my own for some more photography tips.

Keep up the good work,


High Heels said...

lovely post! I visited Bruges last week with my two youngest children and it was a beautiful experience indeed.