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Triple Treat in Belgium

Damme, Belgium

Along the Canal at Damme, Belgium

Doesn’t the picture above just convey what you dreamed the Netherlands would look like? It does to me and I was not disappointed! Today we are having a triple treat! We are taking the “Triple Treat Bus Tour,” offered by Quasimodo Tours. The day is overcast with occasional wind gusts and blowing rain, but nothing dampens our tour out into the countryside of Brugge. The Triple Treat Tour  features several country homes, the village of Damme, the oldest gothic buildings in Flanders at the former monastery at Ter Doest, where we will have lunch, a tour of a chocolate factory, and last stop, a beer brewery! We are in for a day of fun which started when the  Quasimodo Guides picked us up at our B&B and took us to the bus waiting for us in the town square.

The bus takes us out into “Burbs” of Brugge. Then down this narrow lane and deep into the wood, passing the grazing cows we come to the moated castle of Tillegem.

Through the Woods and Down a Narrow Lane!

Through the Woods and Down a Narrow Lane!

The Cows in the Country at Tillegem, Belgium

The Cows in the Country at Tillegem, Belgium

Had to take a picture of the cows! And now for the Castle of Tillegem! Baldwin, the Iron Arm, first count of Flanders, constructed a wooden tower surrounded by battlements where the castle now stands.  Since 1980 the castle and beautiful park has been the property of the province of West Flanders.  I had to take a picture of the castle from every angle!  The castle is not open to visitors.

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

Next we drove to the neo-gothic Chateau of Loppem, full of artwork and other treasures! Built between 1859 and 1862 for Baron Charles Van Caloen and his family, the castle’s original architecture and interior decoration is remarkably well preserved.  The park and castle are owned by the Jean van Caloen Foundation and is open to the public. I took so many pictures inside here, but they were dark, fuzzy and not too good.  Trust me when I say this home was a delight to see.

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

It’s now pouring and really gusty as we get to Ter Doest!

Lambert, Lord of Lissewege, donated land to the Benedictus friers in 1106, to build a priory. In 1270 the Benedictines left and the Cistercienzers Order, who had ties to the Templer Knights, took over. In 1172, Richard, the Lionheart, one of my relatives, was captured by Leopold of Austria on his return from the Crusades. It is said that the abbot of Ter Doest paid the larger part of the ransom in order to get Richard out of prison. It is assumed he came to Ter Doest for a time after his release. He was in fact in Damme, where we are headed later today.

The gothic barn, built around 1280, is the largest remaining barn of its kind, and was used to store crops. In 1308 the barn and abbey were confiscated during protestant religious wars, so the farm we see today was built from the debris of the destroyed abbey. Today a lovely restaurant and B&B also sit on this site! Let’s go have lunch!

The Restaurant at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Restaurant at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Old Barn at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Old Barn and ArtWork at Ter Doest, Belgium

Artwork at Ter Doest, Belgium

Artwork at Ter Doest, Belgium

After our great lunch at Ter Doest, we made our way to Damme.  Situated right along the river Reie, the river has now been canalized into the long , straight, tree-lined and picturesque Damse Vaart Canal from Brugge, just 6 kilometers away, to the Dutch border in Sluis. This makes a great bike trip from the city. Even though it was raining and windy there were bikers doing just that!  We all met up in Damme! What exquisite scenery!

Picure Perfect Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

Picture Perfect Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

A Windmill Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

A Windmill Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

The town is a favorite venue for eating and a destination for boat trips. It is also known for being a great “book town” with numerous bookshops and regular book fairs! Just so nice to explore too!

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

Wrought Iron Sculptured Art in Domme, Belgium

Wrought Iron Sculptured Art in Damme, Belgium

Our next stop was the tour of a Belgium Chocolate factory, but sad to say I was addicted to the Dumon’s Chocolates, and wanted to wait it out until evening to stock up on my favorites. Finally, our last stop back in Brugge, was The Fort Lapin Brewery. There was a variety of Belgium Beers to taste (included in price of tour) but my hand must have been busy holding those pints because I didn’t get any pictures! What a fabulous tour! Be sure to check Quasimodo Tours in Belgium.  Enjoy!

The Best Bits of Eats in Brugge, Belgium

 

Our Morning Stroll Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Our Morning Stroll Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

One of the best experiences when traveling is finding the neighborhood eateries off the beaten path. We like to eat in the neighborhoods we lodge in. It is the best way to meet the locals and enjoy the sit-down-and-focus-on-your-new-friend experience. In our neighborhood, near the B&B Gastenhuis Sint-Andriescruyse, we found two pubs/cafes that we enjoyed very much for their ambiance, simple meals and world-class beers.

First let’s take our morning stroll in the neighborhood!

Our Daily Walk Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Our Daily Walk Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

The Cafe Terrastje was just the cozy-pub-spot where you could enjoy a meal or drink inside or outside at the terrace overlooking the canal. Isn’t this the quaintest of buildings?  Who could resist coming in here?

Cafe Terrastje, Brugge, Belgium

Cafe Terrastje, Brugge, Belgium

Herberg Vlissinghe was another pub close by and the oldest pub in town, dating 1515. It has the best old-time tavern feel and the garden for outside dining comes with a boules court. Both of these small pubs served the best simple, but delicious meals.

Herberg Vlissinghe, Brugge, Belgium

Herberg Vlissinghe, Brugge, Belgium

Let’s get back to our walk through Brugge. I just love strolling among the quiet streets and homes! There are always spots of color and flowers tucked in everywhere! So many different textures and styles to admire!

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

I loved this little green door! It must be a girl’s house!

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

As we reached the town center it’s time for a bathroom break. These were the beautifully sculptured, flowering bushes, that were designed to create one long rolling WAVE! Absolutely delightful and right in front of the public restrooms!

The Rolling Wave Flowering Bush, Brugge, Belgium

The Rolling Wave Flowering Bush, Brugge, Belgium

The Artwork in Brugge, Belgium

The Green Lanterns,  Artwork in Brugge, Belgium

The Mermaid, Brugge, Belgium

The Mermaid, Brugge, Belgium

The Sidewalk Cafe, Brugge, Belgium

The Sidewalk Cafe, Brugge, Belgium

Strolling in Brugge, Belgium

Strolling in Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Time for a chocolate break! Dumon Chocolate was our daily pick for treats! Madame Dumon and her children greet you in her tiny, always packed, chocolate shop. They make their chocolates daily and describe their chocolates in person, no labels here! We always left with a little box of assorted out-of-this-world flavors!

Dumons Chocolate Shop, Brugge, Belgium

Dumons Chocolate Shop, Brugge, Belgium

Our favorite restaurant in Old Town was without question, The Flemish Pot. The ambiance of red-cloth table covers and potted flowers everywhere just made you relax and set the mood to truly enjoy your meal. We enjoyed the local recipe for the beef stew pot!

The Flemish Pot, Brugge, Belgium

The Flemish Pot, Brugge, Belgium

I could live in that tiny room at the top!

Another Look at the Flemish Pot, Brugge, Belgium

Another Look at the Flemish Pot, Brugge, Belgium

Artwork Everywhere, Brugge, Belgium

Artwork Everywhere, Brugge, Belgium

A riot of color and texture everywhere!

Close Up of Shop Window, Brugge, Belgium

Close Up of Shop Window, Brugge, Belgium

Quiet Morning Street, Brugge, Belgium

Quiet Morning Street, Brugge, Belgium

Near City Hall, Brugge, Belgium

Near City Hall, Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

One of the Churches in Brugge, Belgium

One of the Churches in Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Well we’ve made the rounds for today!  Back to the neighborhood pubs! Enjoy your day in Brugge!

Town Square, Brugge, Belgium

Town Square, Brugge, Belgium

The Best Bits of Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

It’s a beautiful day for a walk through Brugge!   We’re starting out from the Huis Sint-Andriescruyse , a traditional gabled B&B in the old town of Brugge.  Situated right along the canal the house is in the long, narrow, dutch design, with the steep, curvy, staircase to the upper rooms overlooking the garden. Our hosts, Luc and Christiane, made us most welcome to their home and I loved being able to lodge inside one of these distinctive homes.  Out the door, just walking along the canal, I was quite content! History abounds in the WWI Flanders Fields nearby and the monuments are easily reachable by car or bus tours from Brugge. I have written extensive posts on these cemeteries and tours so check those out too. But, today we are out for a lovely walk through town. I enjoyed the canals, architecture, gardens, pubs and restaurants! First, we will stroll along the canal. As usual be sure to look up! You don’t want to miss anything! Enjoy!

THE STAIRS in a Traditional Dutch Gable , Brugge Belgium

THE STAIRS in a Traditional Dutch Gable, Brugge, Belgium

The Bear is Huge! What a welcome for guests!

The Canals in Bruge, Belgium

The Canals in Brugge, Belgium

Crow Stepped Gabled House, Brugge, Belgium

Crow Stepped Gabled House, Brugge, Belgium

Crow Stepped Gabled House, Brugge, Belgium

Crow Stepped Gabled House, Brugge, Belgium

Crow-stepped gabled houses are staircase designed projections above roof lines used as decoration and an easy way to finish off the brick of the house. This extensive architecture was quite common in medieval Belgium. Most of the homes in the Old Town are of this design. I like the artwork at the tippy tops!

Canal Walk of Brugge, Belgium

Canal Walk of Brugge, Belgium

Brugge Architecture

Brugge Architecture Along the Canal

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Picture Perfect Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

 

Canal Running Right Through the Middle of the Old Town, Brugge, Belgium

Canal Running Right Through the Middle of the Old Town, Brugge, Belgium

Look Up and in Between Walls!

Look Up and in Between Walls!

This Home is Mapped Out on the Wall

This Home is Mapped Out on the Wall

The Artist Studio, Brugge, Belgium

The Artist Studio, Brugge, Belgium

Old Lanterns, Brugge, Belgium

Old Lantern, Brugge, Belgium

Iron Works, Brugge, Belgium

Iron Works, Brugge, Belgium

Iron Works, Brugge, Belgium

Iron Works, Brugge, Belgium

The Swann Hotel, Brugge, Belgium

The Swann Hotel, Brugge, Belgium

The Gardens Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

The Gardens Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Right Under the House, Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

What a Lovely Garden Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

The Swans Aswimming in Bruge, Belgium

The Swans Aswimming in Brugge, Belgium

Tomorrow we will go in a different direction through Old Town.  See you there!

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