To keep things cohesive, and fresh I’m going to write up the entries and add the photos later. Slow internet is a drag — hahahaha. Anyway…
Bruges continued to impress! It’s pretty small, so our list of “must sees” was similarly small: climb up the bell tower, take a river tour, see the blood of Jesus Christ in the Basilica of the holy blood. We ended up doing most of those things, and the only reason we didn’t hit all of them was because we got delightfully sidetracked.
Our day started with the bell tower. It’s right next to our hotel (our window literally looks across the street at it), so it has been taunting us. It took a while and 366 steps, but we got to the top and the view was magnificent. Well worth the extremely narrow and steep spiral stairs (the fat jokes in “In Bruges” were not off-base…even a little). An added bonus at the top was that the bells started chiming away! It added a sublime mood to an already beautiful view. Truly a treat. Going down was a bit more difficult than coming up (mostly because of heavy traffic), but everything worked out swimmingly.
From there we took a short trip through a small art show on our way to St. John’s Hospital. This hospital was continuously running from the 12th century (that’s the ELEVEN HUNDREDS) through the 1970’s — CRAZY. While taking in the building itself, we actually noticed a few unrelated things: A lady walking what I think was the dog from “In Bruges”, and a bunch of people walking on a rooftop in what seemed like a tour. So, since 366 steps weren’t enough, we decided to explore what that roof top was all about.
This is where we got delightfully sidetracked — by beer. It was the only brewery (of like 32 if I remember correctly) that has survived in Bruges, and it smelled amazing. We bought our brewery tour tickets, and sat down to pre-game. I had the Quadruple (11%) and Lucia had the Triple (9%). Sufficiently lubed up, we took the tour — more steps, more narrow and steep staircases, and a lot of great information. Afterward we consumed our free beer and we were on our way…a bit slower though.
From the brewery we walked through a convent and along a gorgeous park. Due to the beer and the scenery we lost track of time a bit, but finally ended up at the Basilica of the Holy Blood. To our surprise and delight we arrived JUST in time for an organ concert! The Melodies of Handel, Saint-Saens, Bach, and Guilmant resonated through the Basilica. It was really terrific, but because of the concert we missed the opportunity to see the holy blood (by like 5 minutes, literally…stupid Belgian Beer). I suppose you can’t have it all =)
After the concert, we had some dinner, and hit the hay. We had a big day coming up (laundry, and traveling) so we wanted to make sure we were ready for it.
Pictures to come when we have better internet! And an update from Paris is right around the corner.