Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bruges Travel Guide: The Perfect Day Trip

Hi Bloggy Friends,

We only have a few days in Brussels but today we decided to follow the advice of our guide books and take a day trip to Bruges (pronounced brooj). Located within an hour's train ride from Brussels, Bruges is a small, medieval town in northwest Belgium. When we arrived we threw open our map and set out to see as much of the city on foot as we could in one little ol' day.

Our first impression of Bruges is that it's a city driven by tourism. It's beautiful and genuine in so many ways, but there's a tinge of kitcsh that reminds me of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. That may sound atrocious to some of you, but we did our best to bypass the cookie cutter chocolate, lace and frites shops to discover what happens in Bruges when all the sightseers go home.

Acting on the lessons we learned in Amsterdam, Alan and I began by taking side streets. On our way we visited some of the more frequented places, like the serene Béguinage, the Church of Our Lady and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where we placed our hands and said a prayer over a vile that supposedly contained Jesus' blood. But the true magic began to unfold when we were at a distance from the heart of the city.

Out in the residential area of Bruges I was mesmerized by the beautiful homes lining the endless system of canals. These were some of the most beautiful sights I'd seen so far on our trip. We crossed stone bridges, skipped down cobblestone paths and sneaked a smooch or six on park benches hidden in layers of trees and flowers and sunshine. It was heartwarming. We found the magic.

For dinner we stopped in a tiny neighborhood pub where we had wine, fish and pasta. From there we sauntered back to the train station and caught the last train to Brussels - with about two bag fulls of that cookie cutter chocolate in tote, no less (wink).

Have a great night. Stop by soon for a full report of our very last day in Europe. Boohoo.

Love, Josh

1 comment:

Bill Fogle said...

I couldn't believe the complexity of that lace making! I guess I knew lace was complicated, but ... wow!

So-so-so ... what were the French and the other European wines like?!?! I see you drinking in the cemetery and everywhere, but I didn't read your reaction to these fabulous, genuine Old World wines? I loved French wine about 10 years back and bought only them, but the imports in my price range weren't as good as California wines, so I stopped purchasing French. What price range did you sample? Just table wines, or some other? Just Bordeaux, or others? Anything that stands out in your memory?