After lots of hiking in Switzerland (and lots of walking in the cities before we got to Switzerland), Bill and I had been noticing that our clothes were fitting a bit looser, and we weren’t going to complain. Then we arrived in Bruges, known for it’s waffles, fries, and chocolate. Since it’s our goal to immerse ourselves in a culture as much as possible, we worked hard to sample as many of these as we can– waffles from different shops, several fry sauces (yellow curry mayonnaise is my vote), a whole range of chocolates. Clothes don’t seem to be fitting nearly as loosely. Problem solved. (?)
Besides its tempting snacks, Bruges is a town full of step gabled houses, cobble-stoned streets, and centuries-old buildings, and in-tact city gates. Our apartment is just off the market square, and we’ve spent several days getting lost among the winding streets of the old town. Bruges is not an undiscovered treasure. There are lots of tourists here, more than any city we’ve visited so far. It’s a little disappointing since we like to hang with a more local crowd if we can. However, it’s easy to see why people flock here. Bruges maintains its small town feel while having some pretty wonderful things to see. We were pleased to discover that most of the tourists just come in for the day so in the mornings and late afternoons the crowds are much thinner. We have also found that the times where we’ve been willing to get off the beaten path just a bit — entering a small museum, looking at ruins in a hotel’s basement, or taking side streets — are times where we are surprised how few people there are around us.
We’ve taken a boat tour of the city as well as a horse-drawn carriage tour. Of course, Molly was in heaven, and the very patient carriage driver got to hear all about Molly’s horse riding experience.
In addition to being an beautiful city, Bruges is full of treasures. We’ve seen a museum full of Flemish primitive paintings from Jan Van Eyck (and a couple of works attributed to Hieronymus Bosch, which Susan J, will always make me think of you) and a church with a Michelangelo statue sitting on a altar piece.
We leave for Amsterdam Monday morning, but this has been a wonderful week in Bruges. I have to give credit to Bill for suggesting it and finding us this great apartment. I’m so glad we came.