After having very strange dreams about the need to wash a lot of poodles, the day started sociably at breakfast with our fellow B&B guests. There’s only one other room which was occupied last night by 2 girls – one French, one Irish – both living in Frieburg, Germany where I will be visiting my friend Titia next month. We talked about all manner of things but the real revelation was the jar of speculaas spread just sitting on the table non-chalantly as though it were mere peanut butter. Obviously once I saw it, it no longer just sat there. I may be jumping ahead but you need to know that I bought my very own jar later in the day!
Before that though, we toddled over to the Minnewater Park also known as ‘the lake of love’ for it’s idyllic surrounds and all the people pashing nearby – get a room!!! That’s what mum shouted at them anyway! To counterbalance all this shena****ns, we kept on to the adjoining Beguinage – to this day still a working convent where visitors are welcome to stroll the grounds in contemplative silence and not take photos. Except for the loud tour group it was a very tranquil setting as you’ll see from the attached photo (as it turns out its only photos for commercial use that are prohibited so as long as no one pays me for this, I’m OK. That seems to be working so far!).
Our host had told us about some weekend markets which we went to check out only to find that they were the kind for locals looking for ugly socks and bulk detergent as opposed to the kind you find on the front of postcards selling overpriced future landfill to tourists. Despite our disappointment, we bought some olives to ‘savoury’ up our systems ahead of a day of beer and sweet treats.
The beer came first. It was after midday when we arrived at Brewery de Halve Maan which has been in operation from 1546 and is the last working brewery in the city. We had intended to do a tour but once we decided to start with lunch which required us to share a table, we didn’t move for a couple of hours. We struck up conversation with our fellow booze-hounds, I mean, diners – Chicagoans, Lyn and Michael. It was one of those strange experiences where we shared quite a lot of information about our lives, exchanging travel and chocolate advice, getting in successive rounds of the local brew before realising that when it came to say goodbye, none of us knew each others names. Introductions done, it was time to leave.
We headed back towards the centre picking up bits and pieces as we went (although I’m not at liberty to discuss what we got as some lucky readers may be the recipients of said purchases. Other items may have been eaten to remove all evidence which may or may not contain traces of nuts). We pulled over in the Burg square to enjoy a live orchestra playing the best of Elton John while we nibbled on chocolate coated orange peel (more delicious than it sounds. Erin, thank you for the tip!). To prevent drying out, we then headed back to yesterdays pub, Cambrimus for another beer – Ezel Wheat Beer for mum and a mighty Gulden Draak for me to go with a creme brulee with a trappist beer glaze, also more delicious than it sounds!
Just when we thought we couldn’t fit anything more in in terms of food, drink and site seeing, we made our way towards home via the Bonifacius Bridge for more picture perfect scenery and to see the smallest gothic window in Belgium. This is definitely one of my favourite spots in Bruges though it seems to attract a similar crowd to the lovers lake. I’m surprised Mum didn’t turn the hose on them! (In fairness, Mum probably didn’t even notice them).
One last stop at the supermarket to pick up some salad greens to supplement our almost entirely brown diet and then a guilty night in, rugged up against the unanticipated cold, watching TV.
Another beautiful day in Bruges even though it was overcast it didn’t detract from the absolute beauty of this place. every corner you turn around there’s another picturesque scene. i’ve never seen such a beautiful place before. Being Saturday, there were a lot more tourists and a few with very bad manners not knowing which side of the road to walk so walking on both!
i think we must have walked about 90km today as my feet were saying ‘go home, go home’ and we did arrive back to our beautiful B&B called the swan. such a beautiful place with amazing decor and a jack russell called Lousie who always welcomes us with much barking.
i’m off to bed now zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
What made me smile today: besides being with my beautiful daughter, Naomi’ and enjoying her company very much, it was a trick she showed me to remove beer bubbles from a badly poured beer by placing the index finger of her right hand into the corner of her right eye and then simply touching the bubbles with finger and they disappear (this can also be achieved with the left hand). Love to all.