Monday & Tuesday, Oct. 8 & 9, 2007 - BELGIUM - 1˝ days more in Brugge.  

    We were having an absolutely grand time in Brugge and we adored the Adornes Hotel.  Moreover we couldn't think of anyplace we'd rather be.  So even though our remaining days in Belgium were waning, -- make that non-existent, we couldn't think of any reason not to spend one more day here in Brugge.  The accommodating folks at the desk were helpful with the arrangements. Our room was booked, and we would need to change rooms, which their staff would make happen.  So, with that settled, we selected a bicycle from the house fleet and were on our wobbly way toward the canal.  That night we let our camera rest and had a most enjoyable meal at the restaurant Pieter Pourbus recommended by the hotel desk. They also recommended a hidden nightclub with exceptional music where we should go later. The following day, Tuesday the 9th, we would have half a day to experience a little more of this lovely Belgium town before we would have to head back to Brussels. We send our thanks to the friendly folks of Brugge for making our visit so enjoyable and memorable~!


We can't say enough good things about this delightful hotel.  The staff was probably the most helpful and friendly of any we encountered in Europe & that's saying something, because nearly everyone we encountered everywhere was great. 

We heartily recommend the Hotel Adornes.  Our new room right next door to our previous one was only slightly larger and had a little birdcage for a light fixture.  

The view from our window was much the same as the previous day's room. We could still enjoy the resident swans, but this morning we also got the view of the horses & carriages coming in for their day's work of showing folks around the town.

We think the swans liked this particular bridge or at least this canal as they were there in force both mornings.  Peg counted thirteen swans aswimming!

The breakfast room was charming, warm, and spacious.  Service was superb, and the buffet particularly savory and varied.

Meet Artu (as in Arthur of the Roundtable). He is a very skilled football (i.e., soccer) player. He kicks the ball & patiently waits for you to return the favor.  

The hotel furnished bicycles were in excellent condition & despite our lack of recent experience, were quite easy to operate. Bicycle technology may have improved over the last 15 years. Within a few minutes of the hotel we were enjoying this park area along Brugge's peripheral canal.

Unsure of our agility and ability, we headed for the flat trails we expected to find along the canal where by definition, there would be little gradation in elevation.  We timed it perfectly to watch this very long barge go under the draw bridge.

The various boats and barges along the canal were interesting in their variety. Several were fitted out as live-aboards and some looked quite comfortable.

The four windmills on the east side of town were each situated atop a promontory which afforded a little uphill push that was rewarded with a nice view. We had a fun, comfortable & safe ride all the way around to the train station on the southwest side of town.

We wished we had known how easy we would be finding bicycling again & we would have planned a more lengthy sojourn. We met a man who was taking a day trek north to the ocean. How intriguing! But on this morning our plans were to spend more time exploring the town of Brugge.

Peg found she did not feel enough in control of the bicycle to attempt cobbled streets, pedestrians & work-bound automobiles all at the same time, so we took the bikes back & set out on foot. We stopped here when some kind tourists offered to take our picture. CLICK HERE for a view of the full Jan van Eyck statue without us.

It was Monday & most public galleries & museums were closed. This chocolate museum, Choco-Story, was in private hands & a short walk south of the Jan van Eyck statue. They had amassed a very impressive collection of artifacts demonstrating the extensive history of chocolate in the world. 

We were in time for the exhibit of chocolate making. Peg, the die-hard DIYer hoped for pointers, but the demo was more about how technologically tricky it was to make good chocolate candy, i.e., we're professionals, don't try this at home. On the other hand, Keith enjoyed the chocolate sample afterward!

Just yesterday, this 13th century Markt square was so crowded we could hardly see these colorful medieval gabled  houses. The official market day here is Saturday; even Sunday on a fair fall day brings in hordes of folks - but this Monday mid-day it was comfortably much less crowded..

There was no shortage of lunch places on Markt square.  We chose this one and tried the beef stew which really surprised us as it was rather sweet.  Not bad actually.

Just inside the doorway at one of the many lace shops, was this demonstration of bobbin lace making.

The intricately carved facade of the stadhuis completed in 1375 harbors numerous niches wherein are statues of  various counts & countesses of Flanders.  Extensive repairs in the 1960's replaced many that were damaged by the French in the 1800's.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood houses one of the most revered relics in Europe and as such is a hallowed pilgrimage site for many. We promised Patrick we would go inside. Even a true skeptic's reservations can disappear before such awesome veneration.

The atmosphere inside was enhanced by the colorfully painted and stained glass lighted room, but most of all by the music which filled the corners with silence and rest.

This is the silver alter of 1611 which houses the reliquary with the sacred vial (from 1150) supposedly containing the blood of Christ as well as some water washed from his body by Joseph of Arimathea.

Just south of the markt where the main road crosses the canal, we look west and can see the steeple of Our Lady church with the Michelangelo. 

About that time a hard working horse clip-clops across the same bridge on his way to some reward -- we hope.

We can hope he is eventually taken to this horse fountain which we presume is specially designed for all the fine, dedicated steeds of Brugge. This is near the beguinage & yes, they are also being fed in the background here.

Nearby we cross another bridge into the stately white beguinage whose museum was open and the friendly sisters were pleased to have visitors.   

The grounds of the beguinage bespeak the centuries of quiet, cloistered living here.  Although the beguinage movement dates from medieval times, these houses are clearly much more recent.

Heading back toward the east side of town, we took a late afternoon break at this pleasant place on a canal , the De Torre Restaurant & Tea-Room.

Our table overlooked the canal and we considered ordering a meal, but it was a bit early yet.  Perhaps we would come back, but "as way leads on to way" we didn't.

We follow the same canal back to our hotel as the swans are taking cues from the lengthening shadows and heading for their nightly nesting spot. This evening's highlight would be the above mentioned outstanding meal at the Restaurant Pieter Pourbus, but no photos.

The next morning we are out shortly after the folk museum opens.  It had been closed on Monday. We had heard good things about it.  It is the row of white 8 former alms houses in this block. It was located quite close to our hotel.

We had taken this picture before we realized photos were prohibited.  It was of a classroom which appealed to this visiting retired teacher. Hopefully this is not too great a violation of etiquette & will provide a justifiable sampling of their many rooms of such displays.

Here is the Zwarte Cat mentioned in the neighborhood café/tavern sign outside.  Clearly she was more than a mascot, she was in charge & kept a close eye on us. Donations of skritches &/or coins accepted.

Adjacent to the folk museum was this lovely little lace museum/store.  Keith waited outside on the park bench while textile loving- Peg perused the interior.  It was quite nicely done. 

The Jerusalem Church (Jeruzalemkerk) is often called Brugges' most unusual church & is based on the design of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Interior features include underground tunnels & macabre altars.

Here's that little tiny street where the night club with good music is located. It was indeed tricky to find, but recommended by hotel staff.  We do so wish we had not been so tired the previous night.  It would have been great fun.

The last photo we took was at the square around 'T Zand & Fountain where we enjoyed the lovely fountain & sculptures by Stefaan Depuydt and Livia Canestraro (1985- 86). From here we walked a long block south to the train station & on to Brussels.

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