I CAN see the Port of Rosyth from my office window as I type, so I’m as delighted as anyone that it has been announced that ferry services from Fife to Zeebrugge are hopefully being resurrected. The initial plans may only be for a freight service but perhaps one day we will see the return of a handy way of easing us and our cars over to continental Europe without hauling through England.

This would also give us much more straightforward access to Bruges, my favourite Belgian city and a brilliant option for a short break.

Zeebrugge and Bruges enjoy the same relationship to each other as countless places in Scotland. Last night, for example, I dined overlooking Rosyth from the other side of the Forth in Blackness, which used to be the port for the town of Linlithgow.

Zeebrugge then is “Bruges on Sea”, the gateway to the North Sea for the landlocked city just over 10 miles away.

Bruges’s links with Scotland delve back to the 15th century, when it granted Scots a monopoly on some goods, such as wool, then a key export. This relationship continued on to the 16th century when coal, salt, salmon and our hallowed national drink took over from wool, trade only waning when Bruges’s port silted up.

Today, Bruges is one of the largest cities in Belgium, and one of Europe’s most picturesque. Unesco are clearly fans, recognising it on their World Heritage list. The historical centre is laced with a sprinkling of canals, vaulting squares and leafy parks. Drifting around the cobbled streets it’s easy to slip back through the centuries to medieval times when Bruges was a major hub.

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While tourist buses rumble around the streets, the best way to truly appreciate the layout, history and epic beauty of the “Venice of the North” is to get back on the water. Regular boat trips ease around the city’s canals, skirting under the city’s oldest and also its lowest bridge. Bijou Bruges remarkably boasts more than 80 bridges.

The best way to get a handle on Bruges’s history and importance is at the brilliantly renovated Gruuthusemuseum, with its 600 exhibits. The eclectic collection sweeps though the city’s history from the 15th century to the 19th and looks spectacular – think stained Gothic glass windows, tapestries and intricate stone carvings. Don’t miss the Church of Our Lady, its jaw-dropping neighbour. This elegant church houses Michelangelo’s only sculpture outside Italy, the Madonna of Bruges.

The central Markt square is very much the hub of Bruges. Its wide expanse is fringed by impressive Neo-Gothic buildings with stepped gables. The statues in the square are of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, the men who helped lead a successful revolt against the occupying French in the 14th century. This market square is also home to the Belfry, a sky-scraping tower that is the symbol of the city. It soars 80m – if you’re feeling energetic climb up the 366 stairs for a panoramic view.

The Burg is a city square even older than the Markt, a riot of Gothic architecture that is back to its best after the facades of its grand buildings were touched up. Most striking are the 14th-century Gothic Town Hall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a collage of Gothic and Romanesque.

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One of my favourite things about Bruges is the sheer breadth of the historic architecture and how woven around greenery it is. We’re not just talking tourist squares and museums either. The Begijnhof for example used to be a beguinage, or women’s refuge. Today, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict reside in this calm oasis.

Minnewaterpark is my favourite Bruges park. On a sunny day, it’s perfect for strolling around the waters, exploring the various paths and watching the swans. It translates as the Lake of Love and I’ve a feeling you’ll fall for it too.

Today the main industry is tourism, but many people only come on day trips, so after dark when the tour buses are gone the city’s excellent bars, cafes and restaurants fill up with friendly locals who seem determined to disprove any notions that Belgium is either dull or boring.

I can attest to that friendliness.

On Tartan Army duty I was dragged into ‘t Brugs Beertje, where no one would let me pay for a drink as they had seen me wandering lonely in my kilt depressed after yet another Scotland mauling by Belgium. It’s the perfect spot to get to the heart of Bruges beer culture with more than 200 beers – the cherry-flavoured Jacobins is excellent. Half the fun is guessing which of the myriad bizarrely shaped glasses you’ll be drinking out of.

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Bruges is a foodie city too with Michelin-starred restaurants and traditional haunts serving comforting Belgian favourites. Enjoying mussels and chips, washed down with a chilled Belgian beer, as you peer out over one of the city’s grand squares is a quintessential Bruges experience.