Wednesday, October 7, 1987
|Sunrise in Brussels|
Up about 7:00 for a breakfast of toast and fruit, coffee and tomato juice. We left before 8:00 to catch the bus (using the Ls’ 10-ride tickets), then Metro to the central train station. No trains to Bruges, so we hopped on the 8:31 train to the South station. We had quite a time figuring out the schedule because there were so many trains with restricted times. Decided on the 8:50 train to Oostende.
Saw a guy writing in a journal. In the tunnel between tracks, there was a duo playing electric guitar and saxophone. Kent bought a chocolate bar from a vending machine. The train came in on a different track, as we ran to board. Took off on time. A mini-bar cart went through the train. Saw flat farmland, houses with red tile roofs, cows needing to be milked; there are lots of dairy and cattle farms. Brussel sprouts. Bicycle park ‘n’ ride at the train stations. The train stopped in Ghent, then on to Bruges, arriving at 9:52 and we had lost the sun.
We headed off across the ring highway to the park-like area around the canal. Bruges was once a major seaport on an inlet of the North Sea, which has since silted in. Bruges, or Brugge, means bridges, and is considered the Venice of the North. It is one of the purest medieval towns in Europe with narrow cobblestoned streets and gabled houses. It was big in the wool and cloth trade, and now is known for lacemaking.
|Geese by a canal|
|Broken glass topped wall|
Prinselyk Begijnhof de Wijngaarde/Royal Béguinage of the Vine
|Chapel of St Elizabeth|
|Begijnhof #4 façade|
|A newer gate dated 1776|
|Kent passing Sashuis/Sluice House (1519)|
|Virgin Mary niche at Wijngaardestraat 8|
Walked along window-shopping in lace shops. There were also pastry shops and we bought a couple chocolate pastries. Arrived at the former Hospital of St John, dating from the Middle Ages, begun in 1188 with unspoiled architecture. Now the chapel is the Memling Museum, and there is a dispensary/pharmacy in the chapter house. Across the street was ov Onze Lievre Vrouwkerk/Notre Dame church with a 1230 nave, 1465 Paradise porch, and a 375-foot tower, making it one of the largest churches in Belgium and the Netherlands. Full of paintings, and a side chapel with a mausoleum of Mary of Burgundy and her father, Charles the Old. In the chapel to the right of the altar was the Michelangelo sculpture of the Virgin and Child (1501-1504) in a black marble niche. The sculpture was commissioned by Mouscron merchants of Bruges, and it was delivered in 1514. There were some paintings on display behind the altar, but you had to pay to see them.
|ov Onze Lievre Vrouwkerk/|
Church of Our Lady
|Gruuthuse Museum entrance|
|Gruuthuse Museum fore-courtyard|
|Canal boat near Dijver at Nieuwstraat|
|Virgin Mary niche above boat landing|
|Bridge to the newer Begijnhof entrance|
|Modernized canal house at 11 Sint-Annarei|
|Step-gabled canal houses|
|Belfry (circa 1280 with later additions)|
|Grote Markt and Jan Breidel and Pieter de Coninck statue|
|Stadhuis/Town Hall (1376-1421)|
in late Gothic monumental style
|Elderly lady with bicycle|
|Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed/|
Basilica of the Holy Blood
|Beertje van der Loge|
|Jan van Eyck statue|
|"Modern windows" in Jan van Eyck square|
Found a small restaurant, die Grael, to sit and take off the chill. Kent ordered a Hoegaarden Grand Cru beer, one of the best on the trip, very creamy. I had hot chocolate. We also had a couple appetizers, tomate aux crevettes/tiny shrimp in 1000 Island type dressing over tomato halves, with a pickled fennel (tasted terrible!), lettuce and cucumber. Plus croquettes aux cervettes/creamy fried croquets with these tiny shrimp. Tasty, but the shrimp looked like maggots! My hot chocolate came with tiny rolled wafers with chocolate in them, called piroulines.
|die Grael receipt|
|Groeninge Museum ticket|
We walked back around Minnewater with turreted houses. We stopped at a lace shop across from the Begijnhof to buy about $50 worth of lace souvenirs. Lace is popular because the women of Bruges hemmed their dresses with lace to protect the edges from wear. By then we were pretty well soaked and hurried to the train station. We had 10 minutes until the next train, so Kent got a Stella Artois beer and a couple chocolate bars. We took the 16:50 train to Brussels, and arrived in less than an hour. It was dark already. We got on the Metro by 16:00, had a long wait for the bus, but arrived at the Liens’ by 18:30. Dot prepared a great dinner of T-bone steak with mushrooms, baked potato with butter and sour cream, and a wondrous salad with Boston lettuce and nüssli, red cabbage, red onion, yellow pepper, radishes, and an oil and vinegar dressing. And bread. We washed the dishes, as the TV showed a French version of Wheel of Fortune. Kent checked out the relative gamut of TV channels. We looked through photo albums and waited for Tom to come home from work at 11:15. Had a herring and cracker snack.