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Brugge, is without a doubt, the most amazing place I have ever traveled to. Although Deb assures me that I’ll find some other places equally compelling, I’m not so sure. Walking around Bruges is like taking a stroll into a fairytale. There’s a line in the movie ‘In Bruges‘, where one of the main characters , Harry, says “It’s a fairytale town, isn’t it? How’s a fairytale town not somebody’s f#cking thing?” How indeed.
One of the coolest things about staying in Bruges, is that before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m., you feel like you’re walking around on an empty Hollywood set. As you walk around on nine-hundred year old cobblestone streets, the only thing you can hear are the distant echos of your own footsteps. This photo was taken around 7 a.m. on my way to the town square to shoot an early morning panorama with a gentle rainfall my only companion.
After 9 a.m. the tourists flood into the town from trains and buses, and suddenly the Hollywood set is now awash in a sea of extras. As a medieval city with ramparts, walking around can be a little confusing, so there’s no shortage of guided tours. After you walk around the city for a couple of days, a boat tour on the canals ties it all together and makes you realize just how badly you’ve been navigating. The canal tour also points out a few details that you probably won’t notice as you’re walking around being completely overwhelmed by the fairytale. One of those details comes right after the guide points out the fish market. As you’re admiring the market square, and reflecting on how ‘new’ means built in 1821, the guide interrupts your thoughts as he snaps “And…”, with a finger waving up and to the right, “…the Dog of Bruges!”
And there he is, a golden lab, laying on a cushion in the window of his cantilevered canal lookout, lazily surveying his domain while ignoring all the silly tourists snapping away like they’ve just seen BigFoot. But don’t worry, if you miss the shot, you can come back, he’ll be there. He is, in fact, there all the time. Although nature and occasionally a dropped sandwich sometimes call, he’ll circle back soon enough. He even has a cameo in ‘In Bruges‘ about 4 minutes and 40 seconds into the movie. Once you notice him, you begin to realize how many times you wind up hearing “…the Dog of Bruges!” echoing though the canals as you wander about.
So here’s my friend, dreamily enjoying the calm, cool morning air before the tourists storm his peaceful canal. Next time you’re in Bruges walking next to the fish market, look across the canal and say “Hi” for me. He’ll be there.