It’s my last 24 hours in Belgium. And after 6 days of blistering heat, I finally hear the first sounds of Belgian raindrops on my bedroom window. So whilst having breakfast at Li O Lait, at 30, Dweerstraat, I study the map to work out a showers-proof walk. Li O Lait is a great coffee place by the way. This is where Roger Gobron lived till 1985. His art work hangs on the wall.
I am intrigued by the windmills. North of the city, they were marked on my map by the enthusiastic receptionist at Hostel28 when I checked in. My walk starts at the south corner of Meerstratt and the canal, where a duck on a dark moody canal sums up the weather. But I cheer up when I meet a jolly Belgian emerging from a beautiful house along Goneroi. It even has a door with a heart shaped peephole. Dark grey clouds make me scurry to L’Estaminet on Park 5, where I make it in time before the heavens open. And I am rewarded by a lovely fish soup which is a 1/3rd the price of the eateries around the main tourist squares.
After a leisurely lunch, I wander across to Kon. astrid Park. It’s a beautiful little park with a fountain and grandstand. As I wander around , my eye is drawn to a handsome house at #10n Minderboestraat. From there I turn into Engelstraat and find myself in a tranquil residential area, devoid of tourists.
Engelstraat is street of quaint cottages, especially the one at the corner of Witteertouwerstraat. I then turn left onto Witteertouwerstraat, which in turn has some eye catching tall buildings.
Then straight on to Predikhenstraat, where ahead of you is a resplendent sandy brick building, now converted into a hotel.
Turn right onto Presikhenstraat, and cross the canal. Take a left dog leg onto Langestraat and Molenmeers and then right onto Verbrand Nieuwland with its mixture of architecture. At the end of the road I turned right onto Rodestraat and then left onto Langestraat, a local high street of restaurants, shops and churches.
At the surprisingly traffic busy junction of Langestraat, Peperstraat and Bapaumestraat, you will get your first glimpse of Kruispoort. Then down to Kruisvert to the windmills. Do walk up to the windmill. You can clamber up the steps for a bird’s eye view of the city. And you will also get one of the best views of the three main spires of Brugge (Sint Salvatorskathedraal, the Belfry, Church of our Lady) from the first windmill. Well worth the walk!!
From the windmills I decided to head back to the centre. From my vantage point at the windmills, I had already spied large residences with generous well looked after gardens. So I set off along Stijn Streuvelsstraat, peeping over walls and through gates. Then back to Molenmeers, past Jerusalemkerk down Sint Annastraat and a look in, of the ( locked) Sint Anna Church.
After crossing the canal , I follow it along to Verversdijk and Spinolarei to Jan Van Eyck Square.
I only had 2 hours to wander around. If you have more time, then you should explore more of these streets. I have a feeling that they will hold many more charming buildings and churches and signs of local life.