We spent Day Five in Brugge, the Venice of the North. It is so known because of the number of canals winding through the city, rich in beauty and history. A canal tour would have been ideal, however, like the canal tour in Gent, it would have been in multiple languages which was overwhelming for the kids who had a difficult time following. Instead, we opted for a horse-and-buggy tour, easily accessible in the city center, in English. (The skies were overcast, which was a respite from the heatwave, but it makes for less than stellar pictures.)
The entire city of Brugge is a UNESCO World Heritage Center, which speaks volumes. It has maintained its medieval façade and has a calmer feeling than any other city we visited. As we rode through cobble stone streets and alleys, there was a sense of peace and wonder. (And this was with two kids!!)
In the middle of the tour, the horses needed a mandatory break. We were able to hop off and take a few pictures with backgrounds straight out of a fairytale. There were even a few locks on the gate. As such, Blinky and I deemed this area Love Gate.
After the tour, we backtracked to a few locations with the first being the Church of Our Lady. The Church of Our Lady took two centuries to build and is certainly a sight to behold. It is home to numerous paintings, ornate woodwork throughout, and the ceremonial tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold. But, its most famous possession is Michelangelo’s marble sculpture of Madonna and Child.
We also backtracked to a few residential areas to snap images of gargoyle like centerpieces placed over windows and doors to ward off evil spirits.
We wandered the streets some more, did a little souvenir shopping, and of course people watched. During dinner at a sidewalk café, we saw a school group in a bicycle caravan headed back. There were approximately 20 kids on bikes with one teacher in the lead just going around the roundabout. Again, I was amazed at how different attitudes are in Europe. And how late field trips run!
I visited Brugge many years ago so and had high expectations of this day trip. It did not disappoint.
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