Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Although it sounds fancy to prononounce Brugges as 'brooge' it should actually be pronounced as 'brug' as in Afrikaans for bridge with an extra 'ge' tacked on the end. We have been told by absolutely everyone that Brugge is awesome so we went into the day with high expectations and expecting to be disappointed but our expectations were vindicated; it really is a very photogenic town. A sort of Venice without the decay!

Brugge has been sensible about parking and there are several large multi-storey car parks to choose from so that was our first destination and from there we walked to the town square which looks like below.

We walked over to the information centre and then had coffee at a small cafe off the main thoroughfare where the waiter was a spitting image of my ex brother-in-law. Thereafter we took a canal boat trip which we thoroughly enjoyed in technicolour language. First Flemish then English followed by French, we could pretty much get the gist of it from the Flemish and then get a confirmation in English.

The town planners have sensibly refrained from the temptation to build high-rise buildings which means that the town itself has kept it's quaintness intact so it was a little bit of a surprise to find a permanent exhibition of Salvador Dali's paintings, drawings and scupture housed in the town hall. We missed seeing the bulk of Dali's work at the Dali Museum in Spain because we were a little pressed for time (can one believe it in a 3 month journey) at that particular point so I was really please to be able to take in some here. To say that Dali flirted with the boundary between art and pornography would not be true; he obliterated it entirely. There is something quite peculiar psychologically about purposefully drawing, in great detail, one's wife's genitals for public consumption. Not only that but Gala, his wife, willingly went along with it so I choose to conclude that they, both of them, were simply trying to shock the public. Nevertheless, I can't help but feel that there is somehow a difference between the nameless pornography available in every fuel station shop and what Dali and Gala did. One lacks, due to its anonymity, a persona whereas Dali and Gala, specifically because it is not anonymous, somehow has persona.

We had to have some lunch to get over Dali's paintings before we decided to finish the day by going to the Groeninge Museum which was a great disappointment. They have a special exhibition on about 'Charles the Bold' so we missed almost all the paintings by the Flemish masters which, we were assured, were still on display. All one of them!

So it was a little bit of a sour taste in the mouth that we bid our farewell to Brugge and have to agree with everyone who recommended it that it really is worthwhile making the effort to go and see it.

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