Brugge Travel Guide

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Museum Opening: Belgium Loves (Not French) Fries

Where: Vlamingstraat 33, Brugge, Belgium, 8000
May 6, 2008 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

Bet you didn't know that some people think French fries should really be called Belgian fries. The belief that fries were first invented in Belgium is so strong that quirky collector Eddy Van Belle has just opened the Friet Museum in Brugge.

The museum takes up three small floors in one of Brugge's oldest buildings and covers the (controversial) history of fries, even heading back to Peru in 15,000 BC to a possible beginning to one of the world's favorite snacks. There are also all manner of related artifacts including both antique and modern deep fryers, and even a film to teach you how to make the perfect fry.

Entry to the Friet Museum is a reasonable €6 ($9), but of course you'll also have to factor in some purchases of fries--even if you weren't hungry to start with, seeing all these displays is going to give you a bit of a craving. The museum sells them in paper cones or you can find them on pretty much any corner you look in Brugge. Just don't ask for French fries when you place your order.

Related Stories:
· Land of the Friet [Guardian]
· Friet Museum [Official Site]
· Belgium Travel coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Scott Ableman]

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Brugge Hearts Shakira

Where: Brugge, Belgium
July 14, 2006 at 11:39 AM | by | ()

Yes, Brugge is a beautiful medieval city, but there is an odd custom there that makes walking around the streets much like shopping at the Cambridgeside Galleria: They play music everywhere. Not atmopspheric live music in the streets, either. The town, or the shopkeepers, or some combination of the two, pipe in an incredibly odd mix of music using a series of strategically placed loudspeakers that blare throughout the town.

We know this seems really odd. We kept thinking of was that scene in Escape from Sobibor where the unsuspecting prisoners arrive at Treblinka to calming classical music wafting from a variety of outdoor speakers. An inappropriate analogy, yes, as Brugge has absolutely nothing in common with the horrific Treblinka.

And yet...the more time you spend in Brugge, the more comfortable you get walking past centuries old churches to the sound of Wyclef Jean saying "No Fightin'" and Shakira wailing "Oh baby, when you talk like that".

Somewhere nearby, the 9th century Vikings who settled by de Reie are no doubt rolling over in their graves, but there is 21st century feel to eating frites in the Markt to the sound of Human League's "Don't You Want Me"--kind of like a communal iPod. Or maybe we finally had enough Belgian beer to appreciate the Brugge radio remix.

Has anyone else experienced this type of musical town in their travels?  Can anyone shed some light on who controls, or sponsors, the music you hear in the streets of Brugge or elsewhere?  If so, leave a comment below or send a tip.

Related Stories:
· Belgium Field Trip [Jaunted]

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Non-Tourist Tourism: Chasing Cornelia

Where: Brugge, Belgium
July 13, 2006 at 11:25 AM | by | ()

Meet Cornelia. Cornelia who works for Hotel Heritage, a Brugge boutique hotel, was asked by Jaunted where a Brugge Diegan like herself might go when they weren't stuck at work.

Apparently, locals like to walk or cycle along the "green zone" which is the park like area that encircles the outside of the city. After that most locals get hungry--turns out Brugge Diegans are just like us! When hunger strikes, Cornelia and her friends often head to De Media Tea Room, which she describes as a "most excellent" lunch spot.

We then cut the small talk, and dropped the hard hitting questions on Cornelia, like where does she hang during the all too brief Brugge summer season. Her response? De Republiek Cafe, which is a bar slash restaurant slash cinema. The topper? According to Cornelia, De Republiek comes equipped with one of the nicest outdoor terrace settings in all of Brugge.

De Republiek terrace photo after the break.

Related Stories:
· Belgium Field Trip [Jaunted]
· De Medici Hotel Reviews [TripAdvisor]

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Tasty Belgium Chocolate

Where: Eiermarkt 6, Brugge, Belgium
July 11, 2006 at 9:58 AM | by | ()

Belgium is big into chocolate, and Brugge is the epitome of Belgian chocolatedom.

There are plenty of chocolate shops all over town, but those in the know head to Dumon Chocolatier. Dumon is one of the many family run chocolate shops in town. Despite the fact that only a half dozen Keebler elves can fit in this tiny shop, Madame Dumon and her children, who run the place, are busy from open to close. We went back three times, hoping to hit the shop when crowds were thin, to no avail.

Despite the constant lines, the chocolate here is damn good.

Related Stories:
·   About Chocolate []