After breakfast (where I broke my coffee-fast), we jumped on the bus and began the drive to Belgium. Along the way, our tour guide Arjan, gave us a pretty decent history lesson. Then he made the mistake of asking if there were any questions...and for the remainder of the trip (and I don't just mean from Amsterdam to Bruges), I proceeded to grill him on the water system and climate change plans of Amsterdam. Quite impressively, at one point he actually pulled out a semi-academic article which he thought would answer all my questions, but much to his dismay, only led to more... Apparently, this was not meant to be one of those vacations where I can turn my brain off.
Anyway, our stop in Brussels was short. We took a quick photo-stop at the obviously inaccurately sized molecule. Then we did a quick driving tour of the city, before walking around and enjoying some free time. There was some really impressive architecture to be found here, but overall Brussels was sort of 'meh.' The highlight of this stop was the TinTin mural, and the massive cathedral we found - St. Michael's.
|Grand Place on our walking tour|
|TinTin! (and Captain Haddock, and Snowy, Neige, |
Milou, or 'Bobby' (?) depending on who you ask!
|The view from outside of St. Michael's Cathedral|
|St. Michael's Cathedral. It took 300 years to build this bad boy!|
|Inside this magnificent beast.|
|The organ...which slightly looks like a face with a decent moustache.|
We checked in and went for a nice little intro stroll before being left on our own. Bruges is quite simply one of the most charming places I have ever visited. It's known as the "Venice of the North," which I tend to disagree with, but I truly enjoyed my time here. Just walking around, looking in some of the shops, seeing the buildings, and just acknowledging the historical aspect of this place was amazing.
It's also where I picked up this gem...
|If you look closely you will see the questionable illustrations. |
It gets better once you actually read its contents! Yikes!
The next morning we had free time, although at 9:30 am, had the option of visiting a church where Michelangelo's Madonna of Bruges is found. And while I did partake, the real highlight of not only this particular morning, but the entire trip, was the part that involved me not sleeping in like everyone else did, and taking a much needed early morning walk.
When I returned, I was feeling quite relaxed, but filled with anticipation for the remainder of the day's events, including a long drive to Paris.
-the Orange Canadian
*Not actually a statue of Sean Connery.