Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ghent-Bruges Dec 26


Ghent and Bruges, Belgium December 26, 2008

Another pitch black morning. And we went through so many locks last night that evidently there was no satellite connection to download the news. I would at least like to know about the weather at home. I suppose we could watch television but I doubt that we will bother.

I didn't sleep particularly well so I started out tired and headachy but I felt better by the time we got to Bruges.

Bruges was everything I hoped it would be except we nearly froze. By the time we had lunch my fingers were like ice. I was disappointed not to be able to get to the Jerusalem Church and see the houses of the foreign merchants but generally I enjoyed the walk. We didn't have enough time in the afternoon to really do any museums but we did see the Gothic Room and the rest of the City Hall Museum. We walked around and I bought some books. I have pretty much given up on getting a cycling jacket. Evidently bike shops don't sell other stuff and our guide had no idea where people would get jerseys and stuff. I would guess he is only a commuting rider. He had mentioned Eddy Merckxx early on so I assumed he would know about shops that sold cycling gear. With a population that loves watching professional racing, I thought finding cycling clothes would be easy.

We saw the Gunpowder Tower and the Katelijne Icehouse and then walked to the Beguinage by way of the Minnewater. The Beguinage was founded in the thirteenth century although the current buildings date from the seventeenth century.

We saw St. John's Hospital (see picture above), which houses the Memling Museum and went into the Church of Our Lady, where there is a Michelangelo Madonna and Child. Unfortunately our guide didn't mention the tombs of Charles the Bold and Mary of Burgundy, so I didn't realize they were there until later.

We saw the Gruuthuse House, which is also a museum, but our guide didn't know about the library. When we go back, I will have a lot left to see, especially the museums. We also saw the Bishop's Palace, the Town Hall, and the Fish Market among other places.

We had Carbonade Flamande for lunch with not very good frites (no mayonnaise was offered) after tomato soup and before waffles for dessert. I wish we had skipped the lunch and gone out for moules and frites. We could have had chocolate from The Chocolate Line for dessert. Another plan for another time.

After driving back from Bruges, the ship took off for Antwerp. We were given gl├╝hwein and hot towels as we came in since we had had such a cold day.

After dinner Peter and I worked on our evaluations.

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