October 27, 2013
A girl, her hubs and a suitcase…………..
Hello-it’s Brooke your friendly blogger reporting for duty. Let’s discuss the amount of steps my poor tootsies did today. According to my pedometer 23,696 steps. As we speak, they are propped up, throbbing, even with the 4 Motrin coursing through my veins. But, never you mind- I am on vaca, living life to the fullest, and if a little foot pain is my crisis of the day, I think we are in good shape. So, this morning we awoke with the wind howling, the sky black and the rain pelting down. No sunny skies today-but again, a minor annoyance in the scheme of things. After an enjoyable breakfast we drove in our cute little Astro to Bruges. Bruges (http://visitbruges.be/en/index.php/ )is an adorable little medieval town stuck in a time capsule. It is also swarming with camera snapping tourists, tour groups hogging the sidewalks, and throngs of people congesting the streets. Fortunately, for us, this was our second time there and our visit was very purposeful. On our last visit, there was a museum we wanted to go to-but it was closed for restoration during our stay. Being that we were only 40 minutes away-we had to put this on our to do list.
We arrived in Bruges in pouring rain. Armed with umbrellas did not help us as the strong winds were flipping them inside out. We made our way to the Groening Museum. (http://www.vlaamsekunstcollectie.be/ ) It is a moderate sized museum consisting of Flemish artists. It was very crowded, but the masses moved rather quickly. We spent a couple hours there satiating our previous disappointment from the closure. After the museum, we picked a nice scenic spot overlooking the canal and had a light lunch of sandwiches. The sun popped out for a couple minutes-just enough to make our picnic perfect. We made a quick stop at a chocolatier shop, indulging in Belgium’s version of crack- battling our stubborn umbrellas against the assaulting weather.
We drove back to Gent and succumbed to a short nap. After the nap, we walked back through the cobblestone streets to Saint Bavo’s Cathedral. (http://users.skynet.be/sintbaafskathedraal-gent/EN_welcome.html) It is a cathedral erected in the 1200’s. It is not the most beautiful church I have been in-but it does hold the altarpiece I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. The altarpiece was painted by Jan Van Eyck in 1432 purposely for this church. It has an extensive history that Frank researched at great length for months. Briefly, it was stolen many times-once by Napoleon, once by the Nazis (even hidden in a Polish mine shaft at one point!). After World War II it was returned to its rightful place and is the national pride of this country. As we entered the church, a choir welcomed us like angels in harmony. It was short-lived , as the concert was ending-but very enjoyable.
After visiting the altarpiece, we walked around the city center. It was Sunday evening, and there was a quiet hum in the city. Everybody tucked in for the weekend and getting ready for the start of a busy week. We stopped at a place called Lucy Chang (http://www.lucychang.be) specializing in Noodle and Thai dishes. I had a mammoth sized bowl of Veggie Rice Noodle soup. Piping hot and chuck full of crunchy veggies, it was a yummy slurp fest. Frank had the traditional Pad Thai. It was an economical meal that was filling and healthy. The only drawback –and actually this has been a common theme-is no credit cards-and, no tap water. Both of these issues-sorry to say- affect my tipping generosity. Just something to be mindful of if ever traveling to this region.
With bellies full of food, we made our way back in the dark evening. I am sorry I am lacking in any witty stories, tales of European histrionics, or Belgium hijinks. But, folks we are only on Day 3- and tomorrow we will be in France—–so one never knows…..
Love and yummy dark chocolate truffles………..(of course-Belgium dark chocolate-silly!)
~Brooke and Frank~