Tuesday, 25 December 2012

In Bruges


Day 162 23.12.12 Bruges 
  
Views along the canal in Bruges, Belgium

I awoke early to find the familiar drip drip dripping on the roof has ceased as the rain had finally stopped.  We got up excitedly and headed into town.  Minutes after leaving the van the rain started again but we gritted our teeth and get walking to the centre.  The edge of the city was market by a huge castle style gate, a very grand entrance indeed!

The walk in to town was very quiet, with many shops now closed for Christmas.  Even the big supermarkets are shut from 25th to 31st so we’ll have to stock up!  After a little while of strolling along picturesque little cobbled streets we hit the first of the large squares with its grand gold facades.  There are some very beautiful buildings here but we rush on to the main market square with its huge Belfry.   It doesn’t disappoint!  The tower looms over a massive square of stunning buildings.   In the centre is a large out-door ice skating rink surrounded by Christmas market huts, the smell of which is heavenly!  The heady mix of mulled wine and sugary waffles is hard to resist!

Bruges canal walk views
We pop into the tourist office only to discover that you have to pay for a map of the city (something we’ve never experienced before) and you also have to pay to use the toilets (not impressed)! We decide to just use the street maps and wander around our own way.  The city unfolds in front of us and is much bigger than I’d anticipated.  We’re soon back by the canal and enjoy a walk along the bank taking in all the pretty houses along the way. 

The architecture here is picture perfect and at every turn there’s an adorably cute view to take in.   After a while the rain that has plagued us since our arrival clears up and makes our exploring much more pleasurable.  We come across so many wonderful buildings of such beauty it’s hard to believe people actually live in them.  The window displays in the shops are all decked out for Christmas and look very pretty even to a big bah humbug like me!  The chocolate shops are an exercise in will power as rows upon rows of handmade truffles accompany delicious looking yule logs.  One such shop even had a kitchen next door with windows all around so you could watch the chocolatier work his magic.

Bruges town hallAfter too long ogling chocolates, hunger kicked in and we duly obliged by walking back to the van for some lunch.  We picked up a freshly roasted chicken en route as a tasty festive treat.  We planned to head out again in the late afternoon to see the city lit up in all its festive glory.  Sadly Chris was feeling under the weather so settled down instead for a nap whilst I wrote up our exploits so far for the blog and sifted through the mountain of pictures I’ve taken so far.  Chris was feeling a lot better when he awoke from his nap so we grabbed some dinner and settled down to a DVD.  Fingers crossed he’s back to full health in the morning.

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