A Quiet Night in Bruges - Mark Iandolo

Bruges: a stunning medieval city seemingly untouched by time.

Bruges isn’t big on tourist attractions. It’s not as famous as its big brother, Brussels, or its canal cousin, Amsterdam.

But Bruges may outdo both when it comes to its historic town center. To me, it’s the perfect place to spend a quiet night walking along the canals, enjoying the the calming effect of the blue twilight sky complementing the yellow light reflecting off the buildings and cobblestone streets.

Bruges was quiet, but being there made me wish I was with a friend or loved one. I imagine a bottle of champagne and a late night stroll in one of those moments a painter captures that will last forever. I imagine wandering into a bar and talking about anything under the sun until the early hours of the morning, accompanied by the sounds of a jazz soundtrack.

That’s Bruges to me.


I captured my photo on a weekday night in late November. Bruges was in a festive mood, with Christmas lights and shops and a market in the town square. The weather was chilly, yet not frigid, perfect to set the tone for the holiday season.

This location is a couple blocks away from the town square, in a spot where the canal is at its widest and boat tour operations house their docking points (I took a boat tour the next morning. It’s not long – there isn’t much to Bruges – but it is serene and beautiful. Every building seems like it came from a Thomas Kinkade painting).

In the background, you can see the Belfry, a medieval bell tower, which is one of the three icons of the Bruges skyline – along with St. Salvator’s Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady. The Church of our Lady is just down the road to the left of where I stood for this photo and is worth checking out for it houses the Madonna of Bruges, one of only three Michelangelo works outside of Italy.

After taking this photo, I went to the market for waffles and chocolate. Because when in Belgium….

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