Newest Review: ... taxi was the easiest option. Ten minutes later and we were at our hotel. The Attractions ----------------- We spent a week in Bruges so ... more
Padre, please dont drop it!
Member Name: Zoekie
Advantages: A very unique experience in a beautiful city
Disadvantages: Not much sightseeing opportunities
Brugge must be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Medieval architecture, famous churches, friendly people, chocolate shops and beer....there must be something for everyone! And if that is ot enough, then you have to experience the Holy Blood procession!
My husband and I ended up in Brugge earlier this year, on an impulse, after driving around in France, and deciding to make the most of our holiday, and cross the border to Belgium. I have been there a few years ago, and loved it, so I was eager to show it to him as well. Little did I know that we would experience something even more fantastic as I did on my first visit.
It was pretty soon after arriving in Brugge, and after struggling to find a place to park the car, we realised this was not an ordinary day in Brugge. The town was absloutely heaving! We soon found out there was a special parade taking place that day, and that was why every street was lined with people and white plastic chairs. This parade is the vey special "Procession of the Holy Blood".
It is said in the Basilica of the Holy Blood in Brugge, is a relic, a small piece of cloth that contains the blood of Jesus, that was brought to Bruuge, and this Basilica, during the crusades. Since then, every year, 40 days after Easter, the people of Brugge parade this relic through the streets, in a magical parade. More tha 1500 citizens of Brugge dress up in historical costume, and act out Biblical scenes, and the arrival of the count who brought his relic to Brugge.
The parade goes all through the town, and everywhere along the streets people are lined up to see. Inventive vendors rent out plastic chairs, for a few euro, and if you are planning to watch the parade, it is well worth it! Not only does it give you a better view, believe me, this parade is long, and you will get tired standing. Oh, and also if you are planning to take a seat to watch it, make sure you have a few drinks and a snack or two ready! In the centre of the town, is the Burg square and the Town hall, and this was closed off with special seating areas for I suppose VIP guests.
People obvioulsy come from all over the world to experience this parade, and it really is quite magnificent. It was quite moving for me to see the Bishop with the relic, but secretly I was just hoping he doesnt accidentally drop it (but then I suppose they have doen this for so many years...). The costumes were quite nice, and I enjoyed seeing ordinary people form Brugge all participating. They enacted of course many familiar Bible stories, but if you are not so familiar with the Bible, I suggest you get a programme. Although t sounds as if it is a religious experience that would not be to everybody taste, I dont belive it is really. It is fascinating to see the costumes, some clearly very old, and to see how one town can come together and present such a parade, and the atmosphere is really very carnival like. And dnot forget there ar even camles, horses, donkeys and sheep parading past you!
The only negative points I would say was that if this was your only visit to Brugge, forget sightseeing. It is just too difficult to get from place to place, and many of the main attractions were either closed, or just not accessable. Also, make sure you have accomodation booked well in advance, as there is literally no place in the inn on this weekend, which we soon realised, and we had to travel to Antwerp to find a hotel room.
But the atmosphere, the friendliness of the people, and of course plenty of good Belgian beer and chocolate more than made up for not being able to do too much sightseeing.
I will definitley return to Brugge, maybe not on this weekend again, but I really appreciate having ahd the opportunity to experience this parade.
Summary: Brugge has so much more to offer!