Evan DuVall
Saturday, May 31, 2014

Today began with our last breakfast in Brussels before heading off to our final destination, Paris!  But before heading to France, we would make one more pit stop in Belgium.  After loading our new bus and a short 2 hour drive, UW-Oshkosh was now in the city of Bruges.  Bruges is a beautiful, historical city located in the north western region of Belgium.  When we arrived, the entrance to the city was packed with hundreds of other tourists seeking to see the sights and wonders within Bruges.



Along with our original tour guide, Paolo, we met up with Dirk, who would show us around Bruges and go over its many facts and history.  Dirk began the tour with explaining how the city of Bruges is considered a medieval city with most of its buildings and landmarks dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries.  Dirk told the group about how there were seven gates that were located around Bruges and four are still standing today which is very rare for older cities.  And what is most interesting is that the majority of the city looks the way it did back in those centuries.  The city appears as if you are walking back in time.



Not only is Bruges known for its historical establishments, but the canals that run throughout the whole city.  Like Amsterdam, all the canals intertwine which makes Bruges very popular for tourists to take guided boat tours.  All the canals lead to the main harbor or port which is what gave Bruges is economic importance.  The port is one of the largest in Europe.  This harbor was open for international trade and it gave the city much wealth back in the early 15th-16th centuries.  But late in the 18th and 19th centuries, Bruges became less economically stable due to not having a specific industry to offer.  The city was not able to compete economically with other cities in Belgium.  But Bruges soon found its niche, tourism.  The tourism industry is Bruges main source of income with 3-4 million tourists that visit annually.


After our tour ended, we picked up something quick for lunch before heading off to France.  Although it was sad leaving Belgium and saying farewell to Prof. McGee and Paolo, you could tell everyone was getting pumped for our final destination to Paris!

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