Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “A Sites & Bites Travel Guide for Brussels & Brugges .
Please share it with your friends, customers and associates. You can also access more than 100 cities on our website plus lots of other helpful travel tips at: thewelgereport.com/
Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Brussels & Brugges
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near Brussels you can see these species: Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Crested Tit, Nutcracker, Pink footed and White Fronted Geese, Bluethroat and Great Gray Shrike.
The Fat Birder (http://fatbirder.com/links_geo/europe/belgium.html), as usual, provides great information on hot spots and timing.
David Lindo provides an interesting report for the Urban Birder (theurbanbirder.com/media/press/bird-watching-june-2012.pdf)
Here’s where to find your Birding Pals (http://birdingpal.org/Belgium.htm)
Beverages: Beer is an institution in Belgium.
PublicTransportation: This is your site for public transportation (brussels.info/transport/)
Shopping: Brussels is most noted for chocolates, beer and lace. There are two important shopping streets – the Boulevard de Waterloo and the Rue Antoine Dansaert.
Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (brussels.irisnet.be/working-and-doing-business/doing-business-in-brussels)
Exchange Rates (http://www.x-rates.com/)
Day One: After dropping your bags off your first stop is the Grand Place – the center of Brussels and a breathtaking site. Town Hall – W: 1-3, Su: 10-4 was built between 1402 – 1420, lots of ginger bread with archangel Michael, the patron saint of Brussels, slaying a dragon atop the spire.
Inside there are tapestries, paintings and sculptures.
The Guild Houses with their gables, pilasters and balustrades provide elegant eye candy.
Each of the houses has its own name such as “Au Roi d’Espagne belonged to the bakers guild and “Le Renard” was the shopkeepers house.
The neo-gothic building with the decorative statues is the “Maison du Roi” or the “Broodhuis”. In the 13th century bakers sold bread here. After several bombings and rebuildings it was restored as you see it and in 1887 the “King’s House” became the City Museum of Brussels – Tu-F: 10-5, Sa,Su: 10-1, 32 02 279 43 50.
Here you’ll see the history and folklore of Brussels through paintings, sculptures, tapestries and photos. There is a model of Brussels in the Middle Ages.
Nearby is the 17th century fountain with a bronze statue of a small boy known worldwide as the Manneken Pis – 1000 Brussels, 32 479 27 29 29.
He has become the emblem of the rebellious spirit of the City of Brussels. His reward is a wardrobe of more than 900 suits which he wears on high holidays. You can see many of them at the Museum of the City of Brussels.
Lunch is at Noordzee – La Mer du Nord – B: Tu-Sa, L: Tu-Su, 45, Rue Sainte Catherine, 02 513 11 92
Expect a line and a stand up dining experience. The fish/seafood soup is topped with a slice of French bread that is covered with mayo and cheese.
Razor clams are a must, so are the croquettes, the grilled salmon and clams and the house white wine is PDG.
You should visit the Cathédrale des Sts-Michel-et-Gudule – M-F: 7-6, Sa,Su: 8-6, Parvis sainte-Gudule 1000, Brussels, 02 217 8345
It dates from the 9th century, but what you see is from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Much of the décor and sculpture is in the Gothic style.
Don’t miss the judgement window above the west front and the 18th century Baroque pulpit by Henri-Francois Verbruggen.
The Horta Museum – Tu-Su: 2-5:30, Rue Américaine 25, 32 2 543 04 90 is a must see for Belgian Art Nouveau aficionados.
Victor Horta lived in the house from 1901 to 1919. The original inside decoration can still be observed today: mosaics, stained glass windows, furniture and wall paintings.
The museum also contains a collection of his furniture. It is Art Nouveau at its best. It also shows old photographs, scale models, casts and plans.
Visnet– L & D: Tu-Sa, Sint-Katelijneplein 23, 32 2 218 85 45 is a Brussels treat.
To start our cousin suggests the whitefish tempura with a glass of the house white or the seabass tartare served with guacamole.
The main course is the Belgian grey shrimp croquettes or the pollock with mussels and shrimp or those crab claws.
Your wine is the ’12 Meursault-Blagny “La Genelotte”. Dessert is their baked figs with pistachio ice cream and poached orange with caramel and vanilla.
Day Two: Breakfast at Le Pain Quotdien – B,L,D: Daily, Antoine Dansaertstraat 16, 32 2 502 23 61
Here you can indulge in organic breads, jams, butter and spreads or granola with yogurt, Belgium waffles, fruit salad and egg frittatas.
Let’s see what it’s like to live like a King and visit the Palais Royal – Rue Brederode 16, 32 2 551 20 20
The bad news is unless you’re a head of state you will have to peek through the bars.
You can visit the BELvue – Tu-F: 10-5, Sa,Su: 10-6, 7, Place des Palais, 70-22.04.92 which was a royal residence to learn about being king or queen.
You can look over historical documents, film and photos.
While you’re at the BELvue you can see the Coudenberg Museum located under Rue Royale. The archaeological objects on display were found during excavation during the past 25 years.
They include ceramics, glasses, clay pipes and armory.
Aux Armes de Bruxelles – L & D: Daily, Beenhouwersstraat 13, 32 2 511 55 98 is a many storied traditional Bruxelle restaurant and your lunch spot today.
Our cousin strongly recommends the fish soup, rouille sauce and golden croutons or the Scandinavian salad (smoked salmon, mixed green salad, rollmops, grey prawns, shrimp croquettes) as a starter. A glass of the Saint Pierre Chablis is perfect.
Then one of their specialties is the Mussels Provençale (tomatoes and garlic) or their roasted duck breast with a pink peppercorn sauce and rösti potatoes.
The Joseph Droughin is a good match. Dessert is Profiteroles with warm “Callebaut” chocolate.
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is a collection of museums that includes:
Musée Oldmasters Museum – Tu-Su: 10-5, Rue de la Régence, 2 508 32 11
This collection covers a period from the 15th to the 18th centuries showing pieces by Rogier van der Weyden, Petrus Christus, Dirk Bouts, Hans Memling, Hieronymus Bosch, Lucas Cranach and Gerard David.
For the sixteenth century, Pieter Bruegel the Elder is magnificently represented with major works like The Fall of the Rebel Angels or The Census at Bethlehem.
For the 17th and 18th centuries the Flemish School is represented by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Jacques Jordaens, the French and Italian schools by Simon Vouet, Philippe de Champaigne, Le Lorrain, Jusepe de Ribera and Giovani BattistaTiepolo.
The Musee Moderne Museum – Tu-Su: 10-5, Rue de la Régence, 2 508 32 11, This collection of art covers works dating from the late 18th century to the present day.
This collection will be moving soon. In the meantime a limited number of pieces are being shown on a rotating basis.
Musee Fin-de-Siecle Museum – Tu-Su: 10-5, Rue de la Régence, 2 508 32 11, The works reflect the multitude of artistic disciplines between 1868, date of the founding of the Société libre des Beaux-Arts, and 1914.
Artists Constantin Meunier, James Ensor, Henri Evenepoel, Fernand Khnopff, Léon Spilliaert and Georges Minne are here plus other fields in literature, opera, music, architecture, photography and poetry. The Bonnard painting shown above is one of our favorites.
Musée Magritte Museum – Tu-S: 10-5, Place Royale, 2 508 32 11, The Magritte Museum presents works by the Belgian Surrealist artist René Magritte.
This collection of over 200 works is the largest in the world. The collection consists of paintings (Empire of Light, The Man from the Sea, The Domain of Arnheim), gouaches, drawings, sculptures, painted objects, music scores, old photographs and films directed by Magritte himself.
Musée Meunier Museum – Tu-F: 10-12, 1-5, Rue de l’Abbaye, 2 648 44 49
The evolution of Meunier is shown between 1875 and 1905 when he focused more on the social and industrial aspects of Belgium through painting and drawing and then, from 1885 onwards to sculpture.
Paintings like The Broken Pot and sculptures like The Hammerer influenced Realist art well into the first decades of the 20th century.
Musée Wiertz Museum – Tu-F: 10-12, 1-5, Rue Vautier / Vautierstraat 62, 2 648 17 18
The museum is dedicated to painter, sculptor and writer Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865), a somewhat controversial artistic figure of the Belgian Romantic movement.
The Belga Queen – L & D: Daily, Wolvengracht 32, 32 2 217 21 87 has a beautiful interior and an interesting menu.
Your starter is the sautéed scallops with a reduced Duvel beer and butter sauce or the King Crab raviolis with grated truffle. Enjoy a glass of the Luc Pirlot chardonnay with these.
The main is the calf’s sweetbreads with a seafood béarnaise or the rack of lamb in a mustard crust with a bean compote.
The Leon Beyer Pinot Noir is a good choice. Dessert is the black chocolate mousse.
Day Three: Breakfast is at Delish – B & L: M-Sa, Rue d’Arenberg 36, 32 2 502 35 00
Ham and cheese Panini, chorizo goat cheese foccicia, bacon bagels, fresh juices and free wifi.
Take the train to Brugges for today’s activities. At the train station visit the Information Center – Daily: 10-5, Sa: till 2, Stationsplein, where you can pick up a map and guide. Consider a Brugges City Pass.
Then to assimilate yourself to this picturesque town, we suggest taking a canal boat tour – Mar-Nov: 10-6. There are 5 locations, each company charges the same amount and does the same tour.
Your next stop is Markt Square (Grote Markt) in the center if town. It’s a no car area surrounded by shops, restaurants and coffee roasters.
You might want to climb the 366 steps of the Belfry Tower – Daily: 9:30-5 to enjoy the view of Bruges and the countryside.
Your next stop is the Groeningemuseum – Daily: 9:30-5, Dijver 12, 8000, 32 50 44 87 11
Here you will see 6 centuries of Flemish and Belgium art from Jan van Eyck to Marcel Broodthaers. Renaissance and Baroque paintings include work by artists Jan Provoost, Lanceloot Blondeel, Adriaan Isenbrant and Pieter Pourbus.
The 19th century is represented by Joseph Suvée, Jozef Ducq, Jozef Odevaere and Albert Gregorius and a set of Flemish expressionist paintings from the school of Sint-Martens-Latem include Georges Minne, Albert Servaes, Gustave van de Woestijne, Constant Permeke, Gustave De Smet and Frits van den Berghe.
Your next big deal meal is at Bistro Refter – L & D: Tu-Sa, Molenmeers 2, 050 44 49 00
For starters we suggest the cuttlefish carbonara with a poached egg and marinated mushrooms or the roasted langoustines with a curry of potato and chorizo.
For your mains choose either the quail stuffed with foie gras and vegetables or the rib eye with shallots, fries and a salad.
Your wine is the ’11 Chateau de St. Cosme Gigondas Le Claux. Dessert is petit fours.
You’ll want to visit the Church of our Lady – M-Sa: 9:30-4:30, Su: 12-4:30, Mariastraat, 32 50 34 53 14 to see the white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo.
The church also has a painting of the Crucifixion of Christ by Anthony van Dyck and a rococo pulpit, designed by Bruges artist Jan Antoon Garemijn.
Your last stop this holiday is the De Halve Maan Brewery – Daily: 10-6, Tours available: Apr-Oct: Su-F: 11-4, Sa: 11-5, Nov-Mar: M-F: 11-3, Sa: 11-5, Su: 11-4, Walplein 26,32 50 44 42 22
This is the last active brewery in historic downtown Bruges. Great views of the town and a taste of Straffe Hendrick at tours end.
Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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