Wednesday, 28 November 2012


 The last stop on our trip was Bruges, which was already delightfully Christmassy looking, with decorations and lights up.  This was by far the most tourist-packed city we visited during the trip.  Bruges also seems to have its tourists figured out - I'd never seen so many chocolate, lace, and beer shops before!  Thankfully, they were almost all well-presented, not tacky.

City hall on Burg Square.  The next day we visisted the Gothic Hall inside, which was redone beautifully by the Victorians.  Beside this is the romanesque Basilica of the Holy Blood.  We visited the upper chapel (also redecorated marvellousely in the 19th century) where they hold the supposed relic.

 Tim grabs his first round of frites (with a curry mustard sauce) from a stand recommended by trusty Rick Steves and located at the base of this building...

 The Belfort, Bruges's medieval bell tower on the Grote Markt.  (Very busy and looked like they were setting up their Christmas market).  You can apparently get a great view if you go up the 300+ steps of the tower, but we passed.

 One of the lovely canals.

 The courtyard outside the Gruuthuse Museum, a mansion belonging to 16th-century burghers.

 Cathedral of Our Lady, featuring a Michelangelo Madonna and Child statue, as well as other art.  Just across the street from the cathedral is the Memling Museum, housed in what used to be a medieval hospital (of the good intentions-primitive medicine variety).  Lots of medieval art, but we liked the hospital and medical history best.  (Tim's not so keen on pre-Renaissance art.)

 Swans and a canal by the Begijnhof (a word I'm sure I never pronounced correctly during the trip.)

Our favourite Dutch word was the famously not-quite-translateable gezellig, which seems to mean "coziness".  We had a very gezellig time in our accomodation, which was a newly renovated 16th-century house with this delightful gas fireplace.  I spent a great deal of my time in Bruges in an armchair by this fire, racing through to the conclusion of Laini Taylor's Days of Blood and Starlight, which was amazing.

Then after two days in Bruges, we finished our remarkably fun, stress-free trip and took the Eurostar back to London and the train back to Oxford.

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