(Natalie writing today)
I am beginning this post in the early evening at a small shady park in Old Bruges, a quiet respite from the tourist area. People are napping, talking, reading, walking. The sound of the fountain is calming.
Pete did laundry for us first thing this morning, at a nearby laundromat, while I got ready. That was greatly appreciated and needed! Once again our room is decorated with drying clothes.
Excellent breakfast this morning at our AirBnB. It’s such a beautiful, old, tall home. Our hosts are very welcoming yet more business-like than some places we’ve stayed: again, we are amazed at the unique experience we manage to have each day. It is great to be almost in the center of Old Bruges, yet it was quiet last night.
We did a boat ride tour first thing, around the many canals, and it was a perfect start to our more touristy day. Our guide was fun and knowledgeable (and gave the tour in both English and French for our group) and it was cool to see the city from the water. There are 43 bridges in Bruges. There are some impressively old buildings too. I am glad to be here again, 30 years later, this time with Pete!
We’ve been sampling Belgian chocolate throughout the day (well… mostly I have been), and we also enjoyed some yummy raspberry and coconut sorbet and (of course) Belgian frites.
Pete’s comment: Natalie is to chocoholics what Otis on the Andy Griffiths show is to alcoholics. I think if we had a better way to keep chocolate on our bike from melting we’d be loaded down. We can keep one chocolate bar from melting by packing it in our CamelBak next to the bladder of cold water. We call it “the fridge.”
Another treat for me from Pete: we toured a local Belgian art museum (the Groeningemuseum). Art museums are not his thing, and while I am no art expert I do really enjoy many art museums. This one was really good but not too big. Very nice! Thanks Pete!
Just walking around this city and enjoying the buildings and ambience has been delightful! It is one of the cleaner cities we’ve been in. It became busier with tourists as the day went on, but it is still much less busy than Paris.
We found a site that recommended a free daily harp concert in the city, so we found it (in the Site Oud Sint Jan on Mariastraat 38), and it was really unexpectedly good! We even bought a USB of one of his CDs (something we rarely do). Not only does he play the harp, but several other interesting instruments. His name is Luc Vanlaere. Pete admittedly snoozed a bit for the more traditional harp parts (that’s good because he needed a little nap), but when the musician began the unusual instruments it really got Pete’s attention. If you go to Bruges, go to this concert!
The weather today has also been delightful: sunny, light breeze, mid to high 70s F.
We used the Happy Cow app again and found a vegan-friendly restaurant for dinner. It was great. We strolled around a bit more, stopped inside a beautiful Jesuit church built in 1619, enjoyed the cooling evening, and watched the city change into the night scene. Now we’re retiring a bit earlier, getting ready to ride again tomorrow. Bruges has been great!
This has been a good rest day. We head to Antwerp tomorrow. Our trip is going too fast!