We did quite a bit of things this week so a fair warning, this post contains a lot of pictures.
After looking at the forecast for such a great weekend, we decided to head north to Bruges (Brugge [Bru-gah] if you want to be politically correct).
Bruges is known as “The Venice of the North” thanks to the winding canals and gorgeous architecture. Most people who have visited Belgium have visited Bruges and not Brussels due to Bruges being predominately a tourist town. It is located close to the North Sea and serves as a great stop over when traveling from the Netherlands to Paris.
Bruges during the day was exactly as I expected. Touristy. Packed with people, vendors everywhere and lines galore.
We first visited the Basilica of the Holy Blood. So far we have visited a piece of the Holy Cross and now the Holy Blood. Next stop is the Shroud of Turin I suppose.
‘Legend has it that after the Crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea wiped blood from the body of Christ and preserved the cloth. The relic remained in the Holy Land until the Second Crusade, when the King of Jerusalem Baldwin III gave it to his brother-in-law, Count of Flanders Diederik van de Elzas. The count arrived with it in Bruges on April 7, 1150 and placed it in a chapel he had built on Burg Square.’
Pictures are not allowed inside, hence this secret shot I took with the camera in my lap. Shhhh.
After the treats, we waited in line, short of forever, to take a horsey ride around the town. We learned a fair bit about the town as we rode around, and also learned that tour guides need to take smoke breaks, 10 minutes into the ride.
We started off our meal all smiles. Then…let’s just say mom earned her stripes this night. Lily had things come up and Zane had things come out. I’m glad we had a change of clothes and hand sanitizer. We ran back to the hotel in the rain and fully washed everyone down and thank goodness that was the last we saw of the poisoned pasta.
After this stressful debacle Jason let me run around town and snap some photos to calm my nerves. For this, I was grateful.
Bruges is a completely different place after the tourists have left. It is peaceful, serene and oh-so beautiful. If you plan on visiting Bruges, I recommend doing it at the end of the day. Here, I present, Bruges at dusk.
Do you see the little square holes at the top of the houses? You will find these on a lot of houses here. They were used for pigeons who were carrying messages during the war. They would fly in and out of these little ports.
These are alms houses. The rich people of the town built these houses for the poor. In exchange for living there, the poor people would pray for the rich people so that when they got to Heaven, they would be able to get in (since biblically, the rich knew they weren’t getting in)
This was our hotel room from the inside. Pretty cool. What wasn’t cool was those two tiny windows faced a square where a huge concert was going on all night. Three of the family members were able to sleep through it, guess which one couldn’t.
Maybe it was because they knew we were headed to the beach. We drove 20 minutes north to Blankenbergse. And that is what I love about this country. Hour and a half south, rich forest and beautiful rolling hills. Hour and a half north, the beach.