We took our international student interns for a day trip to Bruges (and they LOVED it!)
On Thursday 27th of May, we took two of our international student interns for a day trip to one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium: Bruges, or Brugge in Dutch. The intent of the trip was to use them as an example of how much fun all students can have by just getting out of their comfort zones and exploring popular cities in a way they’ve never seen before. So, get on board with us and make sure to wear running shoes (you will thank us for the tip).
We set out to start our day early: at 10 am we arrived at the station. Our first activity was the boat tour through the canals of Brugge. The tour is done in English, Dutch and French, and it is full of small curiosities about the medieval city. The tour lasts an average of 30 minutes, and it was refreshing and fun, but do not forget to bring your sunglasses on sunny days!
After the boat tour, we passed by the Sint-Janshospitaal (St. John’s Hospital), which was turned into a museum. Now, we know that museums can seem boring sometimes, but as soon as you enter what used to be the facilities of the hospital, and see how much medicine has evolved, you submerge yourself in a world that nowadays is only alive in our own imaginations. Seeing how medical utensils and how medical practices used to be is a wakeup call, and the art is gorgeous. There, you can find marvelous paintings, and by scanning the QR code, you can get great explanations of the important pieces. The tour lasts an average 2 hours, depending on how long you want to spend admiring each detail.
All that talk about hospitals did not make us any less hungry, so around 13h, we stopped to have lunch at the Café Vlissinghe. This place has been making tourists and locals happy with their great beers and meals that make you ask for more since 1515, being the oldest bar/café of Brugge. We recommend staying in the terrace! No matter the weather, they will always make sure that you will be comfortable enough. If you have time, look at the antique decorations they have in the closed part of the restaurant and take a trip down history lane.
On the way to our next attraction, we passed by the Inner Circle, a piece by Nadia KaabiI-Linke from the Triennial Brugge 2021 – TRAUMA. After reading such good things about it, we had to go experience this amazing piece of contemporary art. It was very fun to see how unsettling the bench looks, and although there is no way to tell if it hurts since we could not sit on it, we would not advise trying to replicate this at home!
Make sure to not do like us and go to the Torture Museum right after lunch. It was definitely an experience that we will never forget. The museum is filled with a part of history that makes us think of our ancestors' mistakes. It is very hard to see the extent of cruelty humanity reached, and that it still happens nowadays. This exposition is a hard reminder that we should be kind to each other and stand for #StudentsForABetterWorld.
The next stop was the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a church from the 12th century. The outside of the building is already a piece of art, and so are the windows and paintings inside of it. The architecture is overall marvelous with a beautiful gothic stile and sparkles of gold, and this was one of the most beautiful churches we saw there. But what most people find special about this place, is that as the name suggests, it guards the Holy Blood of Christ. If you want to be present for the worship of the Holy Blood, make sure to go between 14h-15h, except on Fridays, where it is done between 11h-12h.
The Ten Wijngaerde Béguinage was the last thing in our list, and it was best we did it that way. There is a need for absolute silence once you enter, so it was good we did not have anything to talk about anymore! All jokes aside, the peaceful feeling in this place is overwhelming. We recommend you take your time to explore the park and churches, and find your favourite little hidden gems in there.
In the end of the day, we were very tired (shoutout to Jeanny for sleeping in the way back), but it was totally worth it. This was a day of fun discoveries about a beautiful place, and how it came to become one of the most important historical cities in the world. Make sure to enjoy every little second, and do not make too strict of a schedule. Let yourself loose between stops, enter places that interest you, meet locals in small bars, try foods and drinks you’ve never tried before. This is what being part of ISIC is about: creating new experiences. Oh, and do not forget to tag us on your trip post on Instagram, or send us the pictures of your day in Brugge. Who knows, we might post you ;)