Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bruges, Part 1

Hi Mom!  Here I am with some pictures from Bruges, Belgium.  I kind of had a hard time narrowing down the number of pictures so this could take a couple more posts before I get through them all.  Lee and I arrived in town around 1 o'clock last Friday (not yesterday Friday, a week ago Friday) and checked into our hotel.  We got a ground-level room with a cute little patio and view of the courtyard:

I have no idea what kind of tree that is but I loved the flowers on it.

You know I'm a total sucker for the close-up floral shots...and bonus, it's harder to tell with those if they're crooked!

There's a view looking back towards the building we stayed in; our room is pretty much right behind the tree trunk.  They had this funny little machine like a cross between a Roomba and a lawnmower that was running over the grass but somehow it seems that all our pictures of the Lawnba are no more.  But it was funny.

 This was on the side of the building we stayed in, I just thought it was kinda cool-looking.

And there's my sweetie pie : )

This is the main building of the hotel, the Hotel Pannenhuis.  We liked it quite a bit and would recommend to others; you have to walk a ways to get to the city center, but they had lots of free parking at the hotel and we really liked our room.  Excellent water pressure in the shower, which is not always the case in Europe.

Once we finished taking pictures of that beautiful tree, we headed on into town to get some food and explore; this is kind of the gateway leading to the town.  We walked for maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile and found a little bistro where we had a late lunch.  The menu was all in Dutch, but luckily a few words are close enough not to require translation (tomato, mozzarella, panini {guess what I had for lunch}, chocolate, waffle {guess what we had for dessert!}).  The waitress also spoke very good English so she made sure we knew what we were ordering.  It seems like so many people speak multiple languages--we stood in line for 10 minutes at a small waffle shop on Saturday and in that time heard the lady working the counter speak English, French, Dutch, and Italian.  Dude, I speak English and some very rusty French, and that's pretty much it (unless you count a very few assorted words, phrases and numbers in Japanese, Spanish, and German).  It's just amazing to me.

In the first large square we came to, we found this big fountain with statues all around it.  I rather like taking pictures of statues; they seem to be more common in Europe than America.  And some of them are really goofy and delightful.

There's my honey again : )  We had gorgeous weather all Friday afternoon, it was awesome for taking pictures.  Check out that blue sky.

So here's the goofy part of the statue; I have no idea why these women are sitting around talking whilst birds perch on their heads.

That is one seriously dislocated shoulder.  Looks painful.

And here you can see all the bird women and shoulder lady as a group; this was just one side of the statue.  I took pictures of at least one of the other sides, but they didn't turn out as good--makes a difference which direction the sun is shining from.  But the bird lady side was the most interesting anyway.

Here is St. Salvatore's Cathedral; it and several other churches were open to visitors, but we elected to just walk around town and enjoy the architecture from the outside so we could take advantage of the beautiful weather.

It always amazes me just how OLD some things are in Europe.

 And right next door to it was a place that was older still.

I think this was the back side of St. Salvatore's.

Several of the old, interesting-looking buildings are surrounded by other buildings that are fairly tall, so sometimes it's hard to get a picture of the truly interesting ones.  But we tried.

Horse-drawn carriages passed us regularly as we walked around the town; I loved seeing them but at the same time I felt a little sorry for the horses.  They're working mighty hard for their oats trotting around town all day and hauling tourists with them.

Bruges is sometimes called the "Venice of the north" because it, too, has canals.  Not as extensive as Venice, but still.  The water looked kinda dirty but there's just something cool about having canals in the city anyway.  Lots more pictures of those coming up soon.

Before we went to Bruges, I joked about how we were going to eat nothing but waffles and chocolate the whole weekend, and lo and behold!  Waffles and chocolate were EVERYWHERE.  Not the place to go if you're trying to watch your figure : )  We had waffles twice and we did buy some chocolate too, from this Chocoholic shop even.

I thought this sign was pretty funny inside Chocoholic.  It says, "Do you love chocolate?  Does the image of chocolate send you running for your secret stash?  Does the thought of chocolate make you melt and go crazy?  Do you truly believe that a day without chocolate is a day wasted?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, have no fear:  you are a chocoholic!"

Guilty as charged : )


Giffysk8s said...

Love the pics! I especially like the swan in the canal because everything seems so serene.

I know what you mean about statues. I don't always "get" them but I like them. The bird lady seems to be warning onlookers that if you stand still too long something is going to nest in your hair! LOL

Oh boy, am I a chocoholic! Now that I know that it's a real disorder, I feel much better. After all, I can't help myself. :)

On to your prior post. I've got sme catching up to do.

CCsMom said...

Hi, Kik! Just stopping off before I head to work -- after being gone for 6 days. I do feel better today, but still I have no energy. I know I will have lots to do -- the exec secretary is off this week and I am her back-up. Yay . . .

This place looks restful -- serene. I don't so much like the "modern art" that these statues seem to lean towards, but I did like the very first face you posted above. Ha! Rather funny.

You know, I was wondering if those "dates" are actually street #'s . . . but who am I to say?

You have a wonderful day. LOVED your post.

Liz Guidry said...

What a beautiful and sunny day for taking photos in bruges! I did not see any of those weird statues. Lovely pictures so far. Can't wait to see the rest.