Bye, Bye, Arkansas, Hello Schiphol... travel blog

One of the many, many canals in Bruges

Another canal view

Brugges City Center


Yesterday was pretty quiet. We ventured off for a walk around the neighbourhood and then to the mall. There had been a few changes since approximately a year ago. But it all looked quite familiar and I was so happy to see these places again.

This morning we left in a taxi en route to the Delft train station at 6am. From Delft we took the train to Den Haag’s station (The Hague). From there the driver of the tour/charter bus drove us to Rotterdam, where we picked up passengers, then to Dordrecht to pick up more. From there we drove through beautiful farmland on the way to Belgium. We stopped in Ghent, the capital of the Flemish region, where all but Simon and I got off to go shopping. The driver then drove the two of us to Brugges.

If you’ve ever seen the Colin Farrel movie In Bruges, you’ll recall that it’s described as a fairytale city. Well, they weren’t lying. This is a place of beauty. We were on our own and after finding restrooms, immediately found a place to eat. Lots of eateries filled the City Centre area and side streets, but we chose Delices de Bruges. Just a little restaurant (apparently once a chocolatiers) where I ordered the Pasta Ham en Kaas and Simon a beautiful cantaloupe and ham salad. His salad was so fresh with cucumbers, salad greens, and a yogurt dressing. NOTE: Those who know me well know I love to take pictures of my vacation foods. Well, I did take pictures of my pasta and other things as well, but I had a camera malfunction, exposed my film to light, and it was all ruined. Darn it!

From there we just walked and looked and walked and looked. We did a little shopping. We also stopped to go to a 2pm service at the Basilica of Christ’s Blood. (A little history: Since 1149, the Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges has housed a fragment of cloth stained with what is said to be the coagulated blood of Christ, wiped from his body after the crucifixion by Joseph of Arimathea. Legend says the holy cloth was brought to Bruges at the time of the Second Crusade by the Count of Flanders, Diederik van de Elzas, who received it from the Patriarch of Jerusalem.) Simon went up and said a special prayer at the sacred relic. I, like an idiot, stayed in the pew and watched. This will be one of those things I’ll look back and think…how stupid of me!

In addition to several important markers for tourists, like the city hall, we stopped at the Church of our Lady to see The Madonna of Bruges, which is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo of Mary with the infant Jesus. Very beautiful sculpture and church.

We later stopped for Belgium beer and fresh chocolates. Then back to the bus, Ghent, then Delft. We stopped for Chinese food and let me tell you, Chinese food is not like the Chinese food back home. The names of the dishes are quite different and the tastes are too. The food was good, but just different.

We’ll hang around Delft for a couple days and on Wednesday go to Amsterdam. I can’t wait to go to the Van Gogh Museum and the Hard Rock Café. Both places I missed last year. We’ll go to Brussels on Saturday. Stay tuned, more to come.

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