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From the city of wells to the city of bridges

June 9, 2019
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We spent a marvellous bank Holiday weekend in Brugge/Bruges with our daughter and her partner, who have been there many times. A lovely city surrounded by water. There were banners in many languages celebrating the forthcoming Procession of the Holy Blood. The weather was too nice to spend much time indoors, so we left the museums and galleries for another visit.Bruges 1Bruges 2Bruges 3Bruges 4Bruges 5Bruges 6Bruges 7Bruges 8Bruges 9Bruges 10Bruges 11Bruges 12

Bruges 18

Peter and I took the Halve Maan brewery tour while Mary and Jan had some beer. The views from the roof are spectacular. The beer is transported in a pipeline under the city to a modern bottling plant somewhere on the horizon.

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Mary and I decided to climb the 366 steps to the top of the Belfort (bell tower) in the central square. While we waited our turn to go in, people started assembling in the courtyard. It was a rehearsal for the next week’s procession.

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We were almost the last visitors to be let in that day. We looked down at the square from the first balcony, then climbed up and up to the Drum Room, the clock, the bells, and the amazing views from the top, where inscriptions on the windowsills told us what we were looking at and how far away it was.

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Then it was a long descent by the same spiral staircase, which changes direction twice as it approaches the top. Here is the Belfort from below.

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The city is small enough to walk around in a few hours. It’s very clean and has plenty of parks and open spaces and tree-lined walks. Heavy traffic is excluded during the day. Long-wheelbase bicycles can transport whole families. Huge barges carry massive loads. The bridges at the perimeter of the old city are heavily fortified.

Bruges 31Bruges 32Bruges 33Bruges 34Bruges 35Bruges 36Bruges 37Bruges 38Bruges 39Bruges 40Bruges 41Bruges 42Bruges 43Bruges 44Bruges 45Bruges 46Bruges 47Bruges 48Bruges 49 We drove to Ostend for lunch on the Sunday. This grand old building squished between new blocks on the sea-front caught my eye.

Ostend

When in Brugge, it is necessary to buy chocolate.

Mary's chocolate shop

Big thanks to Mary and Jan for organising the travel and accommodation and doing all the driving – and for introducing us to one of their favourite places.

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