Thursday, October 18, 2012

IN BRUGES

And yes, I do know that's the title of a movie.  A good one, actually.  But here we are, in Bruges.  It was an interesting train journey.  We caught the wrong one in Brussels.  An excellent lesson in observing the kind of disorientation one experiences when in a strange place, with strange languages, strange customs, strange ways of listening and hearing...  We asked several times at the Brussels train station, to be sure we had it right, and still got on the wrong train.  Not too terrible a mistake.  It involved only a change of trains in Ghent, at the cost of maybe a half hour.  But also, more costly, lots of extra steps with heavy bags and two trains, not one, to board and stow the baggage.  You can imagine the relief when I saw, at the Bruges train station, for the first time that day, an escalator!

Taxi in to the town from the station.  Can you blame us?  We arrived at our very nice hotel,  the Patritius, with a big, open reception area and a spacious room--a great relief after the cramped quarters in Brussels.  Once unpacked, we ventured forth on foot, as is our wont, and wandered first into the central area where we found the market in full swing.



Great foods--meats...



... cheeses, fruits and vegetables...



... and a lively scene that brought together local farmers and buyers and many, many tourists like ourselves.  (I need to keep reminding myself that I'm one of them!  I do prefer to forget it!)

Back to the town square for an omelette and frites lunch--not a great decision, because the food was expensive and not terribly good.  Our excuse was that we were hungry.  At least we were entertained by a small band playing Bach cantatas on the nearby street corner...




 
Then off on foot, away from the crowds, into the back streets...






... and alleys of this very charming and extraordinarily well-preserved little town, where medieval buildings stand next to those from every century since.  The canals for which the town is famous are well kept...







... quite free from the kind of garbage you tend to find in waterways everywhere; and the houses seem, like those in Venice, to grow out of the water.



 It's a very lovely walking tour, just to wander where the tourists never venture.





Back to the hotel for a very brief rest and time to catch up online with news from America.  We were delighted to hear reports of the second presidential debate, where Obama redeemed himself and more for the lackluster performance in the first.  Then out into the streets again for another long walk, this time in a different direction, before stopping for dinner at a very pleasant restaurant, this time off the beaten tourist track.  Ellie sensibly enjoyed a chicken and vegetable bowl, while I went for the overly substantial Flemish beef stew--with, I regret to say, more frites.  Ah well...

A walk back through the main square, nicely lit at night...



We got throughly lost in the maze of back alleys on the way back to our hotel.  Still, we finally made it, quite tired, but very pleased with our first half day in Bruges.

2 comments:

robin andrea said...

It is quite beautiful there. Lovely winding streets and picturesque waterways. What a wonderful place for a leisurely walk.

CHI SPHERE said...

Glad your settling in deep. Be well!