February 14, 2017 – my new love affair

Happy Valentines Day to the world.   I don’t know where most of you live so figure the world will take care of things.

My new love affair is with coffee folks.  I get so tired by mid morning that I actually enjoy a good cup of coffee made the way the folks do it here.  And then I can pay attention on tours and stop thinking about finding a bed to crawl into by noon every day.  Yes, Coffee – who would have thought?

Today was our day to visit Brugge.  We got the train around 11 and enjoyed the ride sharing our area with a couple from Switzerland.  Great discussion about culture, living in various countries etc.    When we arrived we found the bus into the city center and took it.  They went around various ways so we saw a bit as we approached the old city where all the action is.

The weather was perfect so there were so many people out touring.  There was a minibus tour just ready to leave so we hopped on and took the tour.  They had headsets and the tour in many languages so it was enjoyable.  Saw some things we decided to return to.  That took our first hour.  Then it was time for a bite to eat so we found a cafe and had coffee and a little bit to eat. Not too much.  Turns out it is a chain of health food restaurants that even has one in NY City and other US Cities.  REally good food and a nice set up.  Le Pain Quotidient… check them out.

It was time for some museums, so we went to a couple.  First the Church of Our Lady, where there is a statue of Madonna and Child by Michelangelo.  It was gorgeous. Done in 1504. They also have two tombs on the high altar of Mary of Burgundy and her father Charles the Bold. Both very impressive in gold. She died in 1482.  They are rehabing a lot of the Church where they have found murals underneath the paint on the walls and ceilings.  I imagine it will be lovely when the work is complete.

From there we went to the Groningen Museum.  There were two museums included in the price.  They both were art museums with one being 20th century art and the other being early Flemish art.  There was a display of drawings by Frank Brangwyn 1867 – 1956.  They were interesting as he did many of hard working labourers, and refugees, and street kinds of people.  They were very good and I liked them a lot.

The others were the older masters like Jan Van Eyck, Gerard David, and Hieronymus Bosch.   All very interesting to me and I enjoyed the exhibit.   I have my old art history book at home and will look them up when I return.

Then it was time for some shopping.  We had the names of two candy shops to check out so off we went to purchase candy. Belgian Chocolate Candy and some Belgian lace. I got myself one piece of candy…. a chocolate covered cherry in dark chocolate with liquor center.  Gosh darn that little piece of candy was so sweet and good. Also found a small bottle of Advokaat to bring home with me.  Or if I decide along the way I might break it out ahead of time.  No promises there folks.

We strolled, had French fries or Belgian fries? Or what ever and then found the bus stop and went back to the train.   The train was suppose to leave at 5:57 and no train showed up for a while then one did and everyone rushed on and got seated. All of a sudden it turned out that train was not going to Gent. So everyone had to get off and rush from platform 9 down to platform 2 to get on another train.   We finally got settled and got back here.  Rather than going out for dinner since it was getting late we went down to the bar at the hotel and had a Valentines drink and a chat with the hotel manager and then up in the room we had a sandwich with our left over food from the apartment.

Tomorrow we move on to France. Going to miss Belgium, so much more to see and experience here.  But here we come France.

Here are some pictures of Brugge.  Such a pretty place.

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