Day 5: Bruges Belgium
Brugge Travel Blog› entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
Our journey today required an early morning start. We headed to Gare de Nord, by now a familiar place (one of the main train stations, we came in here from the airport, and passed in/out of here for London and Versailles). It was easy to find our train bound for Brussels and we boarded with no incidents and slept most of the way there. It was a dreary cloudy day.
Once we got to Brussels, we purchased tickets for the regional train to Bruges and walked over to the other side of the terminal to find our platform. Let me repeat that I really don't understand this nonsense the Europeans have for not having doors to their train platforms! All the cold winter air comes right into the main train station leaving it freezing.
My point in setting our itinerary to highlight Bruges AND Brussels was to afford us the opportunity to get to know both the Flemish and French cultures of Belgium. Bruges is a beautiful medieval city, with many of the buildings from that era still intact. It is known as the Venice of Belgium as it has the lovely canal system its Italian counterpart is known for. In addition, Bruges is regarded worldwide for its lace and chocolate crafting. Of course we had to purchase a bit of both while we were there! In one cozy lace shop where I found a beautiful tablecloth with matching napkins and bread holder, the owner was overwhelmingly friendly and broke out the strongest liquor I've ever tasted.
Aside from the shopping, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch downtown - Flemish Stew. Very rich, it was probably a mistake for Jonathan to consume it. He *had* been feeling better and up to moving about and eating after his tummy troubles the day before but the stew did him in and he spent the rest of the day a bit queasy again. Before leaving Bruges, we walked many of the city streets, visited a church that was the recipient of a famous gift (the only statue Michelangelo ever sent out of his own country during his lifetime rests here), and munched on a Belgium waffle from a street vendor. I had also wanted to visit the Basilica of the Blood (has a vial with Christ's blood passed down through the centuries allegedly) but we could never find the church.