Bruges│Roadtrip Day I

Ah yes, time to share my roadtrip with you. At the end of August - the 25th till the 28th - four friends and I ventured on a roadtrip through Belgium and France. Our first stop? Bruges - the capital city of the province of West Flanders with its historic city centre as World Heritage Site of UNESCO.

First things first, we probably picked the worst days for our roadtrip when it comes to weather conditions, because, well, rain. Lots and lots of rain. It wasn't until we survived the leg to our first destination and sat down for hot drinks (tea for me) that we heard it was the worst summer storm since 1901. Oops! The photos I took whilst we were on the highway definitely do not do justice to the continuous rain and wind - that you could literally see because it was made of rain - but you get the idea.

With still a few hours to kill before we were able to check in our hotel, we ventured into the city centre of Bruges. First thing we noticed was how cute everything was with the canals and so on and that Bruges had a lot of tea rooms which we really liked. There also was a "Frietmuseum," yes a museum about fries and of course an overly amount of shops for chocolate. I'm not a big fan of chocolate *shock horror* but I still wanted a box of chocolates from Belgium as my souvenir and for those rare occasions when I do crave it.

And of course, there was beer. Next to chocolate it was THE thing that could also be found everywhere and it was cool to see all the different flavours and brands that were out there.

If it wasn't so rainy I probably would have taken a trip on the canals, but alas. As we walked more on the borders of the city centre we stumbled across Dutch wind mills which was fun to see. I guess we just aren't able to get away from Dutch heritage.

Around this time we were hitting the hour to be able to check in so we headed back to the car to get our stuff and passed a few of the godshuizen, almshouses, which are precursors of public housing dating back to the 14th century.

The hotel we stayed at was the Hans Memling Hotel, very closely situated near the market square. Top feature? It had a bath I could lie in and so a relaxing warm bath was had at the end of day before I headed to bed, which was late in the evening because guess what?! The weather cleared up and a nice warm sun lit up the city. After our check-in we visited the Begijnhof, Beguinage. This tranquil place, inhabited by the sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict according to Bruges' tourist website, was beautiful to see. Something that did bother me was the fact that quite a few people were very loud when there are distinct signs asking you to be quiet. Of course you can 'ooh' and 'aah' at the sight, but people please respect this place and people inhabiting it when you visit. 

Our first day ended with dinner at an Italian, visiting the lake near the Beguinage again to enjoy the last rays of sun and drinks at one of the cafes near our hotel before it was time for a well-deserved sleep.



Heerlen Murals

Good morning/day/evening/night! Wherever you are, I hope you are having a wonderful day. 

In today's post I want to share some of the street art murals in the city of Heerlen that I shot yesterday. In the past few weeks I have noticed a couple more murals that I haven't seen before, and I always planned to feature this - what seems to be - an annual project founded by, among other foundations, Stichting Street Art (the street art foundation). Sadly, recently there has been a bit of a commotion among the population of Heerlen pressing their concern of some of the street art that is to be seen in the city. Art and freedom (of expression, interpretation and other senses of the word) are strongly linked to one another and in this case has led to some misinterpretation. The foundation positively reacted and handled this "commotion" by providing more background information on an organized tour along some of the murals at the end of May. Although I haven't been able to attend any of the HRLN Murals projects or other street art projects in Heerlen in the past, I fervently enjoy to view these pieces of art when I am in the city.

"Creed" (2014) by Inti

"Birds of Paradise" (2011) by Hadassah Emmerich

"The Sweet Barbarians" (2005) by Marke Newton

"TrĂ³picos" (2014) by Finok

By Collin van der Sluijs (2011)

"Alas! How pitiful" (2013) by Faith47

"Self Portrait" (2013) by DAleast

"Koolpiet - foward in time" (2013) by Super A & Collin van de Sluijs

There are still a couple more to see in the city, and a handy overview to accompany you once you are there is the Google Map "Murals in Heerlen" provided by the official website of HRLN Murals. Now, I am going back to the photos that I took during my summer holidays, including the day trips to Den Haag (the Hague) and Antwerp, and of course the roadtrip I took with a group of friends that I really want to share with you, but in the meantime I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of these artworks.