MUSEUMS OF BRUGES
From the Burg, follow Wollestr. left and then head right on Dijver to reach the Groeninge Museum, which has a comprehensive collection of Belgian and Dutch paintings from the last six centuries. Highlights include Hieronymous Bosch’s fantastically lurid 11 Last Judgment, and works by Bruges-based Jan Van Eyck and Bruges-born Hans Memling. (Dijver 12. Open Su and Tu-Sa 9:30am-5pm; ‚8, students ‚5.) Formerly a palace, the nearby Gruuthuse Museum houses a large collection of intricate 16th- and 17th- century tapestries, along with other arti facts dating to the 6th century. The museum’s small chapel, which protrudes into the Church of Our Lady (see below), was built so that the Palace residents could attend church services from the comfort of their home. (Dijver 17. Open Su and Tu-Sa 9:30am-5pm; ‚6, students ‚4.) Continue on Dijver as it becomes Gruuthusestr. and walk under the stone archway to enter the Memling Museum, housed in St-Jan- shospitaal, one of the oldest surviving medieval hospitals in Europe. The museum reconstructs everyday life in the hospital and has several paintings by Hans Memling. (Mariastr. 38. Open Su and Tu-Sa 9:30am-5pm; ‚8, students ‚5.)
The 14th century Church of Our Lady, at Mariastr. and Gruuthus estr. contains Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child as well as frescoed fragments of the 16th-century tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold. (Open M-F 9am-12:20pm and 1:304:50pm, Sa 9am-12:30pm and l:30-3:50pm, Su 1:304:50pm. Church free. Tomb viewing ‚2.50, students ‚1.50.) Beer aficionados will enjoy the informative tour (and free sample) at the Straffe Hendrik Brewery, a beer museum and brewery built in 1856. (From the Church of Our Lady, turn left, follow Mariastr. turn right onto Wijngaard- str. and turn right onto Welplein. Tours 45min. Apr.-Sept. 1 lam, noon, 2, 3, and 4pm; Oct.-Mar. 11am and 3pm.) A short hike away, the 230-year-old windmill St-Janshuismolen is still used to grind flour in the summer months. (From the Burg, follow Hoogstr. which becomes Langestr. and turn left at the end on Kruisvest It’s the second windmill. Open May- Sept. daily 9:30am-12:30pm and l:30-5pm. ‚1, students ‚0.50.) The Beguinage, a grassy cove encircled by medieval cloisters inhabited by Benedictine nuns, displays items used in ancient Flemish households. (From Simon Stevenplein, follow Mariastr. turn right onto Wijngaardstr.; at the canal, turn right and cross the footbridge. Open daily Mar.-Nov. 10am- noon and l:45-5:30pm; Gate closes at sunset. Adults ‚2, students ‚1.) The Minnewater (Lake of Love), on the southern end of the city, is a beautiful park perfect for an afternoon picnic; you’d never know it was once used as an ammunition dump.
NIGHTLIFE OF BRUGES
The best nighttime activity in Bruges is a walk through the city’s romantic streets and over its cobblestoned bridges. There are some more lively late-night options, however, including the popular bar at the Bauhaus Hostel (see above) or the 300 varieties of beer at’t Brugs Beertje, Kemelstr. 5, off Steenstr. (Open Su-Tu and Th 4pm-lam, F-Sa 4pm-2am.) Next door, the candlelit Dreupelhuisje serves tantaliz- ingly fruity jenever, a flavored Dutch gin. Be careful the flavors mask a very high alcohol content. (Open Su, Tu and Th-Sa 6pm-lam.) Behind the Markt, Cafe Pick is a lively spot popular with young locals, and often offers late-night happy hour spe cials. (Open Su-Tu 10:30am-2am, W-Sa 10:30am-late. 2 for 1 beer special W and F llpm-midnight, 2 for 1 spirits Su lOpm-midnight.) A 20-something crowd dances to pulsing music at Rica Rokk, ‘t Zand 6. (Beer from ‚1.60. Open daily 9:30am-5am.)