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Thread: In Bruges

  1. #1
    Tony-S's Avatar
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    In Bruges

    I'll be in Bruges, Belgium in a couple of weeks and plan to take my Fuji GA645i with a few rolls of film. Any pointer on places to visit for some nice photo ops?

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    You lucky guy! I once had a friend who grew up there, and after a couple of years in So Cal she went back. She made it sound like "heaven on earth" where a great photo could exist wherever you point a camera. Take lots of film and let us know if there is any truth to what she said.

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    AgX
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    Tony,
    Brugge is a small place. So within about two hours or so you come along everything...
    It is marked by architecture, old and fake old. And tourists. Lots of them. You might go for the contrast beetween crowdy and silent which is extreme.
    Don't overlook the countryside around.


    You might read that book by Rodenbach though...

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    I haven't been there in a number of years, but from what I remember, the best answer to your question is "the whole place". Compact, walkable town, picturesque in the expected ways, overcrowded with tourists.

    I agree with "don't overlook the countryside around". On the train there from Antwerp, I remember seeing a number of places that made me consider just getting off the train and seeing if I could buy a house on the spot and settle down. :-) It's really a lovely region, and Brugge itself is an aesthetic gem of a town. Take LOTS of film and have fun using it up!

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    Nathan Tenny
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    Marc Leest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgX View Post
    Tony,
    Brugge is a small place. So within about two hours or so you come along everything...
    It is marked by architecture, old and fake old. And tourists. Lots of them. You might go for the contrast beetween crowdy and silent which is extreme.
    Don't overlook the countryside around.


    You might read that book by Rodenbach though...
    If the weather is bad you could visit the Groeningemuseum
    with a large collection of Flamish masters. You should try the beer called 'Rodenbach'. Very special for the american taste.
    We cannot change how the cards are dealt, just how to play the hand...
    Randy Pausch

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    I was there last month and although it was mid-week, it was packed with tourists (including me of course). It's almost impossible to photograph anything without including other tourists. Presumably it's even worse at weekends, particularly July & August. As AgX said, some of the architecture is fake, it looks medieval but dates from the 19th century. Even so there is certainly much to see. I found it very useful to go on a tour mini-bus, we covered in about 50 minutes far more than I could ever have seen on foot. Next time I'd like to go on a canal trip. Just as interesting, in my opinion, is the city of Gent. Lots of fascinating buildings there and it is far, far less crowded than Brugge. Anyway have a good time and don't forget to try the Belgian chocolate!

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    Walk past the tourist areas to the residential sections of town (I went north.) The main body of visitors will be in a central section of the old city, but the entire area is beautiful. You might also want to visit Ghent, a few train stops away. It's a very interesting mix of modern, university town and medieval city.

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    Bruges/Brugge is really small. I've been there a few times and you can easily walk around all of it in a few hours.
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    Couple of things. Firstly Bruges gets busy, and the way to get solitude and the best reflections in the canals is to get out at daybreak and get you serious photography out of the way in the centre before breakfast. At this time of year too you have long evenings and with the exception of the restaurant/bar areas near the Markt areas the place quietens down very considerably once the tourists have decided its dinner time or beer time. So the basic strategy is to photograph in the centre early and late and use the time in the middle for eating, sightseeing, and walking in the areas away from the centre.

    Second, the people who say that you can see the whole of Bruges in a few hours haven't really seen it. Sure they've been to the touristic centre, maybe taken a crowded launch trip along the main canals , but when I go to Bruges its for three days at a time because I walk the back streets and cover the area inside the canal ring pretty comprehensively. I have hundreds of photographs in Bruges and I don't think any of them have random tourists in them, and Bruges is a year-round destination because its a short break centre, so there isn't really a quiet time of year except a bit of a lull in winter. Interestingly you'll get better, people- free photographs in summer because you can get up early and photograph till dusk to miss the crowds. In spring and autumn you can't do that.

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    At about 10 a.m. the buses show up and unload tourists. This continues in cycles until late afternoon. That leaves early morning and long evenings to photograph -- the best times -- with no tourists! It's a marvelous place.

    Peter Gomena

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