Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade
winds in your sails. Explore! Dream! Discover!
( Mark Twain )
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sunday April 15, Still C-C-COLD in Bruges
After a great nights sleep under the cloud soft down comforter, I got ready and met Mom and Dad for breakfast in the day room. Mom has come down with a cold, and was not feeling well. She decided she'd stay here at the hotel today and rest up, and hopefully feel better for the rest of our trip.
Dad and I headed out into the beautiful (but still cold, windy and wet) streets of Bruges, and explored for hours.
Pretty houses lining a canal:
Horse and buggy rides through old town:
We stopped on a quiet street corner to take a picture of a pretty “altar” on the corner of an old house. An older woman was just coming out her front door, and sweetly asked if we’d like her to take our picture. How nice was that?? Here we are: (she missed the pretty altar--darn!)
After a nice conversation with that delightful lady, we continued on, just winding our way through the narrow, pretty cobblestone streets. We came to a small square next to a canal bridge, compete with an interesting old statue:
We walked out past the old city walls and found a pretty park with two old windmills:
This is a view from the top of that little hill, looking over the old city walls:
Dad walking along the old city wall:
We walked back into the old town area, and decided it was time to warm up. We found a small cafe and settled in for a cup of hot chocolate. It was fixed differently--the hot milk was in the mug, and there was a small side bowl of dark chocolate chunks to stir in! Dad had mine all stirred up by the time I returned from the wash room! He said he tasted the chocolate before stirring it in--it was probably out of my bowl! ;=}} It was really good hot chocolate, and we warmed up while having a nice conversation with a couple next to us from Montana.
After that nice warm break we headed back out into the frigid streets (have I mentioned it’s C-O-L-D here??). We walked in the direction of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady in English!), which has a Michelangelo sculpture from 1504, “Madonna and Child”.
OLV is now separated into two sections, about 2/3 is used as the actual cathedral, and the other section is used as a museum displaying “Madonna and Child” and other interesting items. We started in the cathedral section first. It dates back to the 13th century, and is a nice example of Gothic Cathedral architecture. Here are some pics of the interior:
Dad was especially impressed with the brick ceiling (vault):
Stained Glass Windows:
The original, beautiful front doors:
This is the interesting (and hefty!) lock and hardware:
There's a very pretty angel statue:
The detail was amazing:
After we'd admired the main area of the church, we walked to the Museum part, paid our entrance and went first to Michelangelo's beautiful "Madonna and Child". It is spectacular! (funny green line is a reflection--it's behind glass)
There were also old burial vaults from the 13th and 14th centuries. These vaults were excavated in 2009:
And newer and much more elaborate tombs (17th century):
And lots of beautiful paintings:
We spent about an hour in Church of Our Lady, enjoying the history and beauty, and the warmth!
Our next stop De Halve Maan Brewery. We consulted my (kind of) trusty map, and walked in the general direction of the brewery. It took us a few twists and turns, but it’s not a disaster to get lost in Bruges--it’s interesting and beautiful everywhere!
We crossed yet another pretty canal:
We actually found the brewery without a single wrong turn this time!
Here it is!
We walked in, and decided that we were NOT sitting outside, even though their courtyard is very pretty. We sat at a nice small table and ordered a beer each, I had the darker Brugse Zot Dubbel and Dad had a Brugse Zot Blonde. Both beers were brewed here at De Halve Mann Brewery.
The bar area:
We were thinking of my brother Doug, and how much he would enjoy Bruges.
Here's to Doug!
We made a trip to the gift shop, and picked up a few gifts. Maybe even something for Doug!!
By now it was 3 pm. and we’d walked miles exploring beautiful Bruges. We headed back to the hotel to check on Mom. She was still sleeping, and didn’t want to go out today. Dad and I made a trip to the neighborhood grocery and picked up some supper for her. The best we could do was cup of noodles and instant soup, a croissant and some milk. She was happy with that, and chose the cup of noodles and ate every last drop.
We relaxed and warmed up in our rooms for a couple of hours, and Dad and I went out for a quick bite to eat about 6 p.m. We chose a small cafe just around the block from our hotel, and settled in for a nice big plate of spaghetti. I was pretty hungry, as we’d not eaten since our breakfast at the hotel, and we both finished every last bite of our spaghetti.
A quick stroll back to our hotel, and we were “in for the night”. I had turned the heater in my room up, up, up before we left for dinner, and it felt just wonderful when I walked in. I spend the evening snuggled under that warm down comforter--warm for the first time all day!