Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saturday April 14th: Brrrrr From Bruges!

Man, is it COLD here!  It sure seems more like winter than spring.  Even Dad and I broke down and bought some gloves today, and I am wishing I had a fur parka.  Ear muffs would be nice, too.  Long johns?  Yup, I’d wear ‘em if I had ‘em!!
Our Paris taxi picked us up right on time at 6:45, and it was a very quick 15 minute drive to the station.  We had a coffee and croissant at the station while we were waiting for our train. 
Here’s Mom and Dad--with an Americano and a croissant:

Our train left Paris promptly at 8:01 a.m.  We relaxed and enjoyed the 2 1/2 hour non-stop journey to Bruges.  We read our Nooks, watched the scenery go by, and Mom even napped a bit.  Here they are:

Reading away!

We rolled into the Bruges train station a little after 10:30, and stopped by the tourist station to get a map of the town.  I also checked in with the ticketing window, as I had a couple of questions about our train to Amsterdam on Monday.  Well.......seems as if there has been an accident, and they are repairing the lines, and we won’t know until Monday if they are fixed.  If they aren’t, we will have to take an alternate route, which is much longer and involves a bus ride between stations affected by the closure--but we’ll get there!
We had a short wait outside the station for a taxi to our hotel, and the sun was shining a little.  I wouldn’t say it warmed us up much, but at least it wasn’t raining.  Did you know it’s cold in Bruge in the spring?

The short ride into town to our hotel gave Mom and Dad an idea of how beautiful Bruges is.  We checked in to our hotel, and I was impressed all over again by how friendly and helpful the staff is.  This is the same hotel that David and I stayed at two years ago, and in fact, I was given the very same room as before!  It has a lovely view of St. Salvator Cathedral right across the street, and I love hearing the church bells chime every hour.  Here's our hotel:

Saturday is a street market day in Bruge, and we decided we start our site seeing with a quick still through.  Dad and I bought gloves, and we all had hot chocolate to help us warm up.  Did I mention it was cold here?
It was a nice market with lots of clothes, housewares and, of course produce, sausages and CHEESE!   All that yummy looking cheese makes me think of my friend Pat E.--she loves her cheese!

More cheese!  They were giving away samples--I had a couple for you, Pat!

Mom and Dad waiting for their hot chocolate

By now we were ready for lunch, so we walked a couple of blocks past the market, into a more residential, non-touristy area.  We found a nice restaurant with outside seating, but for some reason Mom wanted to eat inside.  Maybe because it’s COLD here???
Dad and I ordered the lunch special, which was a bowl of tomato cream soup, a very good small steak, fries and a salad.  Mom had a 4 cheese pasta, which she said was the best pasta she’s ever had.  I had a taste, and it was delicious.
After our yummy lunch we wandered around Bruge, taking in the sights and enjoying the beautiful architecture.  We strolled along busy shopping street and Mom and I browsed in a few shops, I bought 4 scarves!  Here's a small sample of those wonderful buildings:

Mom and Dad on a canal bridge:

One of the more ornate buildings:

A closeup of the animal figure on the top:

 Pretty street scene:

Dad decided he wanted an ice cream cone (key word here: ICE!!)  Mom and I said no thanks, it’s way too cold for ICE cream. I waited in line with Dad, checking out the flavors, about the only name we recognised was chocolate!  It was interesting trying to guess the flavors in Dutch! 

 He did share a taste with Mom: 

We explored the beautiful old church right across from our hotel, St. Salvator Cathedral.  It’s a great old church, the parish has existed in this location since the late 1100's, but only a very small part of that building remains.  The existing part of the cathedral was built in the early 1800's, in classic Gothic style.  Here are some exterior shots:

Beautiful interior of St. Salvator:

We walked to the main square in town, and it was bustling with activity!  There were many tourists, but also locals visiting some carnival rides that were set up.  This big town square is beautiful, lined with gorgeous old buildings--the town hall, post office and many shops and cafes.  We wallked around the square, and went into one building that had a display about the history of architecture in Bruges.  

Markt Square, Bruges:

Bruge’s beautiful bell tower is also on the square, we walked into the courtyard to check it out.  It was open to climb, but was too late in the afternoon to start. Here are some pictures:

We wanted to go to De Halve Maann Brewery, so we got our our trusty map and plotted our route.  All would have been fine If I’d turned right instead of left--but instead we ended up at a pretty little square where there was an antique and flea market set up along  a canal.  Imagine that!  Dad waited patiently while Mom and I poked around.  We found many things we’d like to have but none would fit in our suitcase, so we left empty handed.

Flea Market:

The canal by the flea market:

We continued on our (backwards) route, and soon realized we were going the wrong way!  By the time we walked the few blocks back to the right street corner, Mom was feeling just a little too tired to continue, so we headed back to the hotel.  
There was a big fire burning in the fireplace of our hotel lobby, and we sat and warmed up, Dad and I had a beer and Mom had hot chocolate.  

After we were nicely warmed up, we hauled ourselves up the stairs to our room, and Mom and Dad decided they were “in” for the night.  I wasn’t quite ready to settle in yet, so I bundled up and strolled a few more streets, stopping in a nice little cafe for a warm bowl of soup and some crusty French bread (or is that crusty Belgian bread??).  I wandered around a few more streets, taking a few photos in the nice evening light.

The wind had really picked up, it was so gusty that I was having trouble taking pictures!  I decided that I was ready to pack it in for the night, so I headed back to our lovely little hotel.  I changed right into my jammies, fixed myself a cup of hot tea, and snuggled right in under the nice down comforter.  I’m hoping that I thaw out by morning......
Tomorrow in Bruge:  Just some more sightseeing, and we are hoping for warmer weather!


  1. Did I hear you say that it's cold there? Well, I
    gotta tell ya, your pictures are HOT! Including the ice cream foto! Thanks for reminding how much I liked Bruge! See ya soon.

  2. Cheese...... did I hear cheese........? The picture gave me serious flashbacks! I need another cheese fix. Thanks alot Di. Oh by the way...... could you stop back to the market and pick up that Charlie Chaplin sign for me? :) Had a great lunch with Dave on Saturday and, yes, I did eat cheese - nachos and pizza. How sweet it was. Miss you.

  3. A very nice display of pictures and words for your first day there and that is the prettiest shade of green in the last two scenery pictures - especially the one with the "weeping willow type" tree with your Mom and Dad in it.....and I say that not just because I am deprived of green! The beer glasses are rather fancy- not mugs. You needed your Honey there to snuggle with under that down comforter, didn't ya?