How these lucky places can make your wishes come true

Seven lucky landmarks in Europe…

Shooting stars, wood knocks, horseshoes, wishing wells, finger crossings, wishbones, tooth fairies…everyone can count at least one happy, hope-inducing, harmless superstition that they have always believed in. The fascination for lucky charms is eternal and crowds will continue to gather at places where wishes are said to come true. So, queue up and call out to good fortune at these seven marked spots…whether for faith or for fun. Who knows, you may just strike gold, lucky devil!

All about ‘toeing the line’

Set the stage for magic: Split, second-largest city of Croatia, sitting on the edge of the dazzling Dalmatian Coast beside sparkling sapphire waters of the Adriatic Sea. Known best for its 1700 year-old UNESCO-protected ancient walled city. Sports the 7-acre retirement home of Roman emperor Diocletian.
Spot to be spotted at: Gregory of Nin statue (Grgur Ninski), located near the Old Town’s Golden Gate.
Of legacies and legend: Gregory of Nin was a bishop in the medieval Croatian capital of Nin. Historical protector of Croatian culture, language, and statehood. His oversized bronze statue, a 1929 creation of Croatian artist, Ivan Meštrović, towers to 28 feet (8.5 meters) in height.
Keeping the faith: Indulge in rubbing his shiny big toe…its easy to recognise by its golden color. Locals will vouch for his powers. 

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Get a charming headstart

Set the stage for magic: Dubrovnik, Croatia. dubbed ‘Pearl of the Adriatic. Claim to fame? A quintessential Wall Walk and of course, the epic Game of Thrones filming locations.
Spot to be spotted at: The Franciscan monastery, on Stradun, the main street on the left side, near the Pile Gate entrance to the Old Town.
Of legacies and legend: People crowd near the head of a small stone gargoyle ledge, fixed about half a meter above the ground and sticking out barely fifteen centimetres from a wall. It seems like the mouth of a rainwater drain, and even has a name…Maskeron. Its top surface is smooth and polished like marble from years of thousands of steps and the wall above is greasy from the touch of a thousand hands.
Keeping the faith: The legend is that if you balance on the ledge, stand facing the wall, you will find true love. Definitely worth trying.

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Win by a nose

Set the stage for magic: Enigmatic capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence. Considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, overflowing with all rings arty.
Spot to be spotted at: The Mercato Nuovo (Straw Market) covered by a Renaissance loggia in the historic center, a two-minute walk from Duomo.
Of legacies and legend: Il Porcellino is a bronze fountain decoration created by Baroque-era bronze master Pietro Tacca. This one is a replica of the original sculpted to adorn a fountain in Italy’s famed Boboli Gardens.
Keeping the faith: Slip a coin into the boar’s jaws and rub the shiny golden snout for for good luck.

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Other side of the coin

Set the stage for magic: Rome, the eternal city and capital of Italy, dripping with history, ancient artefacts and some of the world’s most recognised monuments, including the Colosseum and Pantheon.
Spot to be spotted at: Trevis square in the Quirinale district of Rome, less than 10 minutes from the Spanish Steps.
Of legacies and legend: At 85 feet high and 65 feet wide, Trevis takes the cake as the biggest and most elaborate fountain in the city. Created by several designers including famed sculptor Bernini. Roughly €3,000 coins are thrown into the fountain pool every day. All proceeds towards charity and upkeep.
Keeping the faith: With your back to the fountain, throw a coin into the Trevi with your right hand over your left shoulder. Second trip to Rome guaranteed.

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A shoulder to cry on

Set the stage for magic: Timeless city of Istanbul, Turkey on the striking blue Bosphorus Strait, straddling the two continents of Asia and Europe. Identified by its spectacular skyline of cascading grey-blue domes and pencil-thin minarets of nearly 3,000 mosques.
Spot to be spotted at: The Hagia Sophia at Sultanhamet has a column close to the northwest exit of the nave, which attracts visitors for a strange reason.
Of legacies and legend: The column is known as the “wishing column” or the “weeping column” is always damp to the touch. It is said to be crying because of a sultan’s pity. There’s a healing hole on the column.
Keeping the faith: Stick a thumb into the hole and attempt to rotate the finger in a perfect circle. If the thumb gets wet, your wish will be granted.

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Thank your lucky stars

Set the stage for magic: Mother of all cities, Prague, Czech Republic. Home to a hundred spires and the iconic Charles Bridge, lined with statues of Jesus, the Holy Family, and other saints.
Spot to be spotted at: St John of Nepomuk memorial plaque in the middle of the Charles Bridge.
Of legacies and legend: A cross engraved on the bridge wall marks the spot from where Saint John was said to be thrown off. A wrought-iron grille plaque depicts Saint John resting at the bottom of the Vltava river. The statue has a halo with five stars, representing five bright stars that appeared in the sky above him when he died.
Keeping the faith: Using all fingers of your left hand, touch the image of St. John of Nepomuk on the grille, who is depicted lying down. Your wish will be granted.

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Its ok to point a finger

Set the stage for magic: Germany’s best preserved medieval walled town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, on the popular Romantic Road route, epitome of German romanticism. Known most by a certain instagrammable location: Gerlachschmiede, the pretty gabled house on a forked street.
Spot to be spotted at: 14th-century St.James Church, 3-minute walk from the central market square, Marktplatz.
Of legacies and legend: A statue of St. Jacob statue outside the church building depicts one of the twelve original apostles, James, official saint of the town. James has an extended left index finger, glowing golden from a million touches.
Keeping the faith: Pull the index finger to ensure good luck and protection.

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Have you been to a place which has a lucky legend associated with it?

 

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My first impressions of the lovely French city of Lyon

Lyon, France’s second city, is my first choice…

Taking a train from Provence through the peaceful countryside into the bustling train station of Gare de Lyon Part Dieu can be a jolt of sorts. There’s a buzz in the country’s second-largest metropolitan area, home to over 1.6 million people…and you can feel it even as you hail a cab. At 7.30, people are already on the roads, driving to work, waiting at bus stops, opening their boulangeries and coffee shops. The laid back, relaxed atmosphere of Southern France is behind you…this is city life, busy and bustling…after all, you’re closer to Paris. Ready up to discover the country’s gastronomic capital.

The cab crosses the bridge over the Rhone river and you adore Lyon already. Along the river banks, classically styled grand buildings face a broad tree-lined avenue and a lovely waterside promenade. Peaceful green spaces, bike lanes, people strolling, chatting, reading books on wooden benches by the water. It is impossible to miss the sprawling monument with a splendid dome facing the river. A distinctive landmark, the Hotel Dieu, a historic hospital built in the 12th century, and a medical facility till today, is one of the largest monuments of Lyon. Further ahead, leaving the river and the buildings behind, you are in the heart of Lyon’s peninsula or Presqu’ile as the area between its two rivers Rhone and Saone is called. Lively and energetic, brimming with impressive buildings, fountains, squares, shops and department stores. So much like Paris…on a smaller scale.

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Pick Grand Hotel Des Terreaux, one of Lyon’s oldest hotels for the warm atmosphere of an old-fashioned 19th century town house combined with a modern, innovative décor. Prime location too, just walking distance from main squares of Lyon and on the edge of the historic centre. Everything is within stone’s throw.

You don’t need to venture too far to immersing in the town’s charm…stepping out of the hotel will suffice. Let your curiosity overtake you as you sample the boulangerie opposite, where locals are buying fresh bread of different types…garlic, walnut, baguettes, croissants, beignets (French doughnuts) and round loaves. A takeaway to munch…yes, please. Amble along the Presqu’ile filled with its classical style mansions and thousands of boutiques and stores, including designer labels and all possible brands of high street shopping. Europe’s biggest pedestrian shopping area…the stretch between Rue Victor Hugo and Rue de la Republique…is huge, though compact and completely walkable…and teeming with shoppers.

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The street ends at Place Bellecour, the edge of the largest pedestrian square in Europe, which is surrounded by fine 19th century buildings and has a large statue of King Louis XIV mounted on a horse right in the centre of the open space. In winters, the square becomes a centre for entertainment, when an ice skating rink and a large giant wheel are installed here. Every Friday night, Place Bellecour is also the starting point of Lyon’s roller blade ride (similar to that which takes place in Paris). Rows of cafes and bistros fills the streets crossing and running parallel to Rue de la Republique. Choices aplenty. Or in true French style, you can opt for a quicker meal of delicious french baguettes and a variety of desserts…caramel eclair, Madeline and fondant chocolate caramel beurre.

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Walking back the same way, head for the other major square, the Place des Terreaux. Coffee is calling by now…so sink into a chair under one of the many canopied outdoor cafes with your cappuccino, gazing at the magnificent fountain (La Fontaine Bartholdi), designed by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the same genius who created the Statue of Liberty. The fountain (reminiscent of the Trevis in Rome), depicts France (symbolised by the woman harnessing four horses, or four major rivers of the nation). To think that this peaceful square was once the site of the guillotine during the French Revolution! Today, Lyon’s administrative and artistic hub, it is marked by the imposing the City Hall (Hotel de Ville), at the eastern end of the plaza, and the Opera with its famous eight muses.

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Opposite the fountain stands the great Beaux Arts Museum, featuring works of art from ancient times to today, including Reubens, Monet, Gauguin, Degas and Picasso. Old-school tram lines run along the Museum side. Inside the museum, stroll around the lovely garden courtyard scattered with sculptures, till you reach the former abbey, where a groom in his black suit and the bride in her beautiful off-shoulder white wedding gown are holding hands endearingly, looking into each other’s eyes. Where are the guests? But the movie camera gives it all away… it is just a wedding scene being shot for a commercial. Reel, not real life romance here.

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Evening descends upon Lyon, and the city changes its complexion as you look on. A short detour takes you to the Saone river banks. people browse for second hand books. People are walking, running along the river banks below, sitting on the edge of parapets, chatting, catching up before going home. A man walks home with a brown bag of baguettes, a woman buys cold cuts from the boulangerie, a girl cycles past, a car waits patiently for us to cross the road, shops close for the day. Everyday exotic life in Lyon…

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The sun sets and the calm ripples of the dark water are ablaze by the reflection of thousands of lights from the buildings on the opposite bank…red, yellow, green, blue and white coloured dots on the surface of the water lend an ethereal feel. The streets and squares light up and every building morphs into a monument, bathed in soft gold. An elegant harmony everywhere. A couple makes choices from a restaurant menu, a few friends laugh over beers at a bouchon table by the pavement. On the other side, the Vieux Lyon (read my post on the Old Town here) sprawls on the hill, its grand cathedral and Eiffel-lookalike, both sparkling elegantly.

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Lyon is so much like Paris, you realize…grand opera, chic shops, river cruises, world-class museums and even an Eiffel-clone. But in its own league…with its ancient Roman ruins, fine cuisine and quality of life. France’s second city is my first choice for more reasons than I can count. Which is yours?

 

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Why you need to head to Madikeri to reconnect with nature

Make a nest in Madikeri, Coorg…

Have you ever dodged heavy doses of strongly discouraging feedback about an oncoming trip? Just days short of your travel plans? When anticipation levels are headed north? Pay no heed, because you, dear traveler, have your own agenda of discovery. Follow the advise of the old Chinese proverb…“Don’t listen to what they say. Go see”. Better still, draw strength from our true story. We kept our spirits high, stuck to our plans, went to Coorg and returned celebrating the precision of our instincts.

From Bangalore, hit the curvy Hassan highway for a pleasant 6-hour drive through the countryside. A hazy mountain outline signals Kodagu territory. As you roll past Madikeri town, the line-up of homegrown coffee-chocolate-wine shops and Tibetan monks in deep red-garb announces that nap-time is officially over. Inspect the scatter of traditional Kodava houses while you can, because soon you’ll be remotely away from habitation. Ensconced in your new nest in nature…Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa, Coorg.

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10 kilometres away from the property, turn off Google maps and follow the signboards along the narrow road through the thicket. Curving left and right, up and down. Along borders of endless green. On and on. Deeper and deeper into the woodland. 8 kilometres, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3. Endless neck cranes, constant peering. Are we there yet? Finally…rewards! A gated check post, a drive-in patio and a warm welcome at lobby. Impatient footsteps to the vast deck opposite. Jaw-drop. Wide-angle pan. And stunned silence. The limitless vastness of the rainforest infinity sprawling before you, broken only by a layered fringed of the undulating Sahyadris. Nothing between your hungry eyes and the magnanimous valley but a pebbled water-border. Luxe loungers, bolstered benches or chic day-beds…pick a favourite spot, sip some bella kaapi (black coffee with jaggery), and feast on the spectacle. Because this is just Act 1.

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Dive into nature

Exit lobby, enter forest. The foliage thickens and so does the drama. Buggy drop along a hilly road to one of the many cottage villas sprinkled all over the 180 acres property. First key twist. Second jaw-drop moment. Generously-proportioned living quarters and ceiling-high glass windows on all three sides overlooking the lush valley. Faux Coorgi roof. Real fireplace with real logs. A dream worktable to banish every stubborn writer’s block. And a hip black granite tub with a view. #bathroomgoals. Give up city conveniences and live here forever? D-uh!

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It gets better. Coorgi specialities like pandi (pork) curry, chilli fish steamed in cardamom leaves, mango curry, kadambuttu (steamed rice balls), akki (rice) roti at the open terrace restaurant. Heavenly spa with a pebbled stream. And a special Holi street-food dinner by a lighted blue pool. Fire pits, live food counters, hanging day-bed. And the pitch-darkness of the valley lit by a luminescent full moon. Star spangled skies. Nature’s background score…rustling wind, falling of a leaf. Are you in love or are you in love?

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Wake up to the sweetest alarm in the world and race outside to look for the whistling malabar thrush. Embrace the colors of nature…red sunrise, pinkish-orange skies and purplish-blue mountains and happily convert into a morning person. Swoon over the sight of the frothy clouds filling the valley. Persevere with the theme…prowl around the herb garden, chase butterflies, pluck sweet mulberries, pick juicy strawberries, find cardamom trees, pepper creepers and vanilla pods. Break for a healthy organic lunch under the shadowy bamboo trees. You could get used to this…

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Then embark on a 3-hour long rainforest walk with Nitin, the on-location naturalist and rediscover that you’re an insignificant speck in the vast scheme of planetary existence. From 40 species of frogs and work hierarchy of bees to termites as a survival food and 50 feet king cobras, to Rudraksh, strangler fig trees and healing properties of local plants…its a capsule course on the laws of the jungle, the circle of life and the survival of the fittest. Forget trivia of daily life, become part of the big picture.

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Listen to stories

Soak up the culture with local activist Colonel Muthanna at the property’s ‘Conservatory’. For centuries, this mountainous and misty land, where streams flow in abandon, dense forests hide mysterious flora-fauna and abundant wildlife thrives, has been home to the ancient warlike Kodava tribe, supposed descendants of Alexander or a band of Iraqi Kurds. The most fascinating leftover from the tumultuous past? Hand-dug war trenches (kadangas), 1.5 to 7.5 meters high, 3 meters deep, 2-3 metres wide, snaking over 6 kilometres of countryside. A fascinating slice of heritage from 9th-10th centuries, proof of the many bloody battles fought here to keep invaders at bay. Rare but not impossible to sight, if you’re willing to poke under wild foliage. Go further, push the envelope…trace out a monolithic burial stone or dolmen dated 2500 or 3000 BC. Hundreds are said to be scattered around the region.

Intriguing age-old traditions continue to be preserved passionately. Every Kodava belongs to one of over 300 clans, and every clan has an ancestral house (Ainmane) with a small shrine to offer prayers to ancestors (rather than gods). Its a great idea to try and visit one. Unique marriage traditions live on, where elders guide the ceremony instead of priests. Brides wear typical jewellery items like kokkethathi, (crescent-shaped pendant with a serpent-like head, figure of Goddess Lakshmi and two birds) and the Kodavu style saree, with back-pleats and a shoulder knot. Men sport a traditional coat-sash garment. Watch a tribal song-and-dance performance, dedicated to nature and heroism. Simple rhythmic moves of the barefoot dancers, brandishing swords, canes and whisks…glide back to simple times.

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Get a first-hand feel of the self-sustaining village life, where people grow their own vegetables, fruit, pepper, coffee, even betel nut. Be reminded of the medicinal properties of plants and herbs, as you savour the local vinegar (Kachampuli) in Coori pork dishes. Made of concentrated juice of a tropical fruit, Garcinia Cambogia, it is now accepted worldwide as a liver protector and weight reducer. And marvel at the eco-consciousness of the locals as you stumble upon protected forest patches, left untouched for centuries in the name of deities and legends. Part of an estimated 2500 acres of sacred groves called Devarakadu. Respect!

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Smell the coffee

The coffeeholic mandate while in a region that produces 60 percent of the country’s coffee? A coffee plantation tour. Hours slip by easily as you wander along the coffee bushes, immaculately trimmed to appropriate heights for bean-picking convenience. Tall silver oaks and short orange trees provide protective shade…slow down and gaze around all you can.

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Admire the unconventional beauty of the sweet-smelling white flowers and green-red cherry-like beans of the coffee plants. Learn to identify Robusta and Arabica plants by the differing sizes of their leaves, branches and cherries. Understand why the two are blended and why chicory is added in the ratio of 40, 40, 20. Ask questions about the harvesting-plucking and production process. See the beans drying in the sun, readying for the roaster. Get educated on instant-versus-filter coffee quality angle. Know how inferior seeds go into making instant coffee and the superior ones are kept aside for the filter version. Conclude with a coffee tasting session of freshly brewed coffee, straight from the plantation. Stock up on packets of filter coffee…add a percolator. Caffeine fix sorted.

Make precious memories

Stumble upon a secret spot for one of the most surreal scenes of your life. Through thick and thorny bushes, up a barely-there stony path, emerge into a secluded clearing to gasp at 360-degree views of layered blue mountains. Soundless, except for the wind. Have a solitude-soaked meditative moment, squatting on the grassy plateau, staring at the vermillion sunset, tracing the contours of the crimson ball as it dips into oblivion, leaving a softly fading splash on the endless canvas above. Could this be the purest form of reverence? Possibly, but the trance isn’t over yet…nature is presenting an unreal show on the open hotel terrace. Clouds descend upon you and the misty magic of the night envelops you in its magical fold. Close your eyes and sense the soft caress without a care in the world. Because some memories outlive photos a gazillion times over.

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Dwell on the delights of beautiful Barri Gotic in Barcelona

Simple charms of Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic…

There’s a different Barcelona behind Las Ramblas and you wouldn’t believe it until you stride a few feet down a side street into the city’s old Gothic Quarter, Barri Gòtic. This vast area stretching between Las Ramblas and Via Laetana is where Romans had developed their early settlement in 133 BC. Remnants of the fortifications they built to protect their city can still be found. A slice of ‘Barcino’ still exists in ‘Barcelona’. Devote a day to dwell on its delights.

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In the quest for peace and pines at Palampur

Palampur makes an ideal, offbeat hill destination

It is a dream. You’re walking down a lovely, long mountain road, shady with a thick cover of graceful, tall pine trees rising from mysteriously plunging slopes. Even without touching the deep green leaves, you can sense their velvety softness. Again and again, you reach out to steal a fistful of the elusive mist, in vain. Its a gentle glide on undulating waves of serenity as the pines whisper sweet-nothings.

Melt dreams with reality. Choose Palampur, an offbeat hill destination in the Kangra valley, at the foothills of the majestic Dhauladhar mountain ranges. Its claim to fame is that its the only tea-producing region of North India. But more importantly, you’ll have it all to yourself.

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15 Turkish delights in Istanbul worth travelling for

Iconic symbols of Istanbul, beyond the mega sights…

Its a city straddling two continents. Its skyline of ancient mosques and pencil-thin minarets is a photographer’s dream. Its imperial history is the stuff dreams are made of. And it boasts of some of the most sought-after mega sights on the planet. But for me, the real magic of Istanbul lies in its everyday scenes, its people, its streets, its waters, its very air. Unveiling my list of favourite Turkish delights in Istanbul. Icons in their own right, one and all.

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One surreal day in the achingly beautiful town of Bruges

Bruges is the loveliest canal town…

A labyrinth of meandering canals, cobbled streets and centuries of history. Nicknamed Venice of the North. UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to a fifth of the city’s 105,000 residents.  And just hour-and-half by bus from Belgium’s capital. Compelled to witness the aching beauty of Bruges?

Set the mood right with a stroll in the Minnewater Park, the beautiful green lungs of the city. Cross the Lovers Bridge over the Lake of Love to ensure eternal togetherness. Slow down near the 30 white-painted gabled houses built around a central green courtyard dotted with tall trees. That’s the Beguinage, a convent-like shelter established in 1250 for single and widowed women. Benedictine nuns still live here, so technically, you’re an intruder. Careful with those crisp leaves crunching beneath your feet. Shhhh!

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A second canal bridge and little gabled houses indicate that the Old Town is near. At the corner of Wijngaardstraatm, the famous Christmas decorations store, Kathe Wohlfahrt greets you with festive flair. The aroma of waffles and Belgian fries floats up from windows counters and pushcarts. People throng outside boutique hotels, fine restaurants, attractive bistros, hip creperies and cafes under green striped awnings. Tables overflow with mussels served in big metal pots and creamy fish stew. Linger over a mouth-watering meal under the warm sun.

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Quit the main walkways where you have to avoid stepping onto others’ toes. Head for the cobblestoned alleyways lined with vintage shops and minuscule chapels. Listen to the sound of your footsteps echoing in solitude. Peek into the tiny window-fronts of lace shops showcasing home decor items made of the famed Bruges bobbin lace. Testimony to the history of a painstaking, local skill dating back to the early Renaissance era, when Emperor Charles V decreed that lace-making should be a compulsory skill for all girls in convents and beguinages throughout Flanders.

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Wearing lace was a status symbol then and the lace trade reached its peak in the 18th century. Flanders linen was considered most superior in all Europe in the Middle Ages and Bruges was the most important outlet for textile and lace. When the Zwin channel silted up and Bruges lost out as a transportation hub, Bruges lace and cloth industries saved the city from financial ruin. Sadly, today, Belgium’s entire lace weaving industry comprises of just 1,000 weavers who produce everything manually. Some pieces are so intricate that they require the use of over 200 bobbins. Study the delicate reminders of those times…doilies, tablecloths, table napkins, cushion covers, wedding veils, handkerchiefs, using filigree-style ribbons and chains…from affordable machine-made copies and to genuine and expensive vintage articles. Take home an exquisite reminder.

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Bruges is nirvana for chocolate lovers, with over 50 expert chocolatiers within 50 square miles. This chocolate capital of Belgium even has its own official chocolate – the Bruges Swan. Think superior ingredients and obsessive adherence to old world manufacturing techniques. At Wollestraat, the city’s chocolate hotspot, shops are packed shoulder to shoulder on both sides. Each enticing display of pralines, figurines and slabs is quicksand of sweet temptation. Delicious variety lines the glass shelves…classic milk to almond praline to pure liqueur filled gourmet delights…countless types from the simple to the intricate… each with their own sophisticated flavours and heavenly textures. Traditional flavours to wildly experimental ones including black olive, tomato, wasabi, fried onion, bacon, curry, basil. Prices for chocolates are generally between 50 cents and 1 euro each and chocolate is sold by weight, starting with 100-grams. Apparently, locals buy fresh chocolate like others pastry or bread. Stock up! 

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The broad street opens onto the Markt. Enjoy a float, watch jugglers, listen to street musicians and stare at the medieval architecture. The large, ornate, neo-Gothic Provincial Courthouse, (a 19th-century construction), harmonizes perfectly with the older medieval structures. On one side, quintessentially Dutch, gabled red brick buildings cordon off the space. Old stone slabs, which traders would have used to cut and sell meat or cloth, are still preserved. Tiny figures soak in amazing views from the Belfort (Belfry), a 13th century bell tower looming above everything else at 83 meters. You’re inside a postcard…web of canals, little roof terraces and a flat landscape towards distant wind farms.

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On another side of the square, restaurants with outdoor tables are filled with hungry patrons enjoying the afternoon sun, sipping Belgian beers, digging into luscious steaks and indulging in that evergreen European pastime…people watching. The hypnotic clops of horses’ hooves and the regular quarterly chimes of the manually operated 47-bell carillon of the square’s belfry is like music to the ears. Detour to explore the tallest structure and the second tallest brickwork tower in the world, the 122 meter high Church of Our Lady, graced with Michelangelo’s famous Madonna and Child…in black.

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Picturesque canals shimmer as they flow under arched stone footbridges, white swans skim gracefully over the waterways, flower-draped, quaint cobblestone streets curve past turreted manor houses with gabled roofs and and shops overflow with antique treasures. Romance exudes from every nook and cranny. Eager-eyed tourists take leisurely canal cruises along the Reien, hooked to local anecdotes while gazing at delightful views of Bruges’ weathered facades. Could anyone tire of these historic buildings, bridges and vines draped down to touch the water? While away lazy moments and drink in the tranquil beauty. Bruges has taken centuries in the making…savour every vista with languor.

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Brick houses by canal in Bruges

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Canal houses face the water, their stepped gables on steeply pitched roofs capped with slate or stone for easy access. The stunning Flemish brickwork facades blaze in the sunlight. Houses flaunt wooden medieval doors, stone gargoyles, circular and teardrop-shaped windows with diamond-cut traditional crown glass, intricate lace curtains and reliefs on walls showing apprentices at work. Indulge in the medieval fantasy.

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As the curtain goes down on a brilliant day in the prettiest town of Belgium, chew on this. Thanks to transportation on these waterways, brewing and textiles had reached their zenith in the 14th-century, laying the foundations for a magnificent city, where agriculture could not be the mainstay. And look now, the canals still run the town…not with textiles and beer, but tourism.

 

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Bruges is the loveliest canal town #bruges #belgium #canals #flemish