Friday, November 13, 2009

Day #6, Brugge #2

Frans wrote:

9 Nov '09: Because Brugge was such a nice place, we decided to stay an extra night so we could view the rest of the interesting places the city had to offer.

We started off with a leasurely drive around the outside of Brugge but as that took the whole of about 10 minutes and not much was to see there we proceeded on foot once again going straight to the Tourist information shop where I found a computer that showed a map with a predetermined tourist route through the city which took you past all the major exhibits and interesting place. In typical Belgian style, this map was not available in hard copy so I drew the route on a tourist map I had obtained from the Hotel.


My idea was to put a bit more structure in our wonderings through Brugge because we seem to go off in all directions often covering the same area a number of times. In particular the center of town had received a good work out as all roads led to this area and the cobblestones in this particular area and I were just about on first name terms. The plan worked well for the first 15 minutes or so when all of a sudden there was a flurry of discussion amongst the ladies about a church we just had to see, another exhibit we just couldn't miss and what we were going to do for the rest of the day and before I knew it they were off again completely forgotten about this route we were going to follow. .... I blinked my eyes a few times, heaved my shoulders, shook my head and starting to stumble after them again on the way to the next church..... my feet were still hurting from yesterdays efforts and by the look of things today wasn't going to be any different.....


Brugge has many churches and I wouldn't be surprised if it had more churches per capita then any city in the World with the possible exception of Rome. Hence I've completely forgotten which churches we exactly visited except that this one was made of brick, covered in scaffolding and plastic and was a job and a half to get into but we made it!
After the visit to this particular church we were drawn once again to the center of Brugge which by now became pretty familiar territority for me as we had crisscrossed it a number of times now. In the corner of the square we found the 'Basilica of the holy blood'
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/belgium/bruges-basilica-of-holy-blood.htm where at certain times of the day a relic was shown to the public which contains a piece of cloth with a blood stain that was suppose to come from Jezus Christ. I'm not going to enter into a discussion whether the relic is actually what it is claimed to be but sufficed to say it was a moving experience to get up on the altar and lay your hands on this relic and say a small prayer......at the latest check there were no miracles to report and no, Maxine is not with child...However I can't vouch for Karen or Evonka, God only knows what happens in their room at night.....no pun intended, Lord......


After we left the church we encountered the first of the three women to fall that afternoon. An elderly lady, unknow to us, tripped or slipped on the greasy cobblestones and fell. She didn't hurt herself as far as we could tell and I wouldn't have even remembered it as a significant event if it wasn't for the fact that it happened to another two women that same afternoon.... coincidence or did the Earth move for them?...you just never know with them Belgians....


That afternoon we decided to take a tour through the city by horse and cart. why not you might well ask, we drove around the city that morning, yesterday we sailed through its canals, God knows we polished enough of the same cobble stones a number of times I just hoped nobody was going to come up with the bright idea we also could fly over the town as well because if you done that and blinked you'd missed it!




video

The horse and cart ride

Our hostess was named Lisa and our horse was supposed to respond to 'Bartje' (little Bart) but I doubt very much whether he agreed to that particular insult but all in all Lisa and Bartje did a fine job taking us through Brugge hobbling over all of its humps and bumps.


We stopped halfway through the tour to give Bartje a well deserved feed and a rest and the Ladies took the opportunity to visit a nearby local nunnery.






video

Bartje's rest and feed


I thought that perhaps some of my travel companions might be taken by a religious experience and remain there but alas, all three decided not to take up that particular vocation and promptly returned to the horse and cart.

After Bartje had satisfied himself on the oats and water he proceeded on his way again taking us finally back to...you guessed it.... the centre of town where we were now in danger of attracting the attention of the local constabulary for exceeding the amount of allowable wear and tear on the city's cobblestones by foreign tourists!


Maxine and I returned to last night's award winning restaurant for a cup of tea to present our prized koala to the serving staff when the second of the elderly ladies for that day tripped over the stairs of the restaurant and fell down. We didn't know then there was still a third one to come....

We had dinner that night at one of the many eating place around....you guessed it....the center of town.... but the meals were no where near the quality of last nights dishes so this particular restaurant did not receive their koala. We're quite strict in that, no good, you miss out on this top award! After that we proceeded to our accommodation because by that time we all had enough of walking and were looking forward to a nightcap in front of the fire place of the hotel. It was during this walk that the third of the women fell that afternoon and this time it was our own Evonka.


For no apparent reason she slipped and fell and although not seriously injured in any way it gave us all a bit of a fright and a wake up call that perhaps we should be aware that none of us are spring chickens anymore and that tiredness can result in loosing once balance. Evonka was the bravest, got back up on her feet again and made it back to the hotel 'ok' but whilst writing this blog a few days later now we know she is still a bit sore in the knee from it although like the trooper she is, she's not letting it slow her down...

This concluded our second day in brugge and our first stop. Brugge was beautiful, historic, friendly and certainly worthwhile visiting but it was time to move on to the next adventure...

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