01.25.2010 2 °C
On Saturday, the IES paid for a trip to Bruges, which is a town in Belgium about one hour north of Brussels by train. It's a big tourist attraction because it looks much the same as it did in the 17th century - the layout of the city is the same, even though some buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt. It used to be called "The Venice of the North" because, once upon a time, it was close to the sea and it was very powerful in terms of trade. After the sea receded (thanks global warming in the 1600s), Bruges became very poor and no one went there anymore thanks to a series of bad calls by the ruling dukes. Now, it's funded mostly by tourism. Only 20,000 people live there. It is a very beautiful city - lots of canals and historic buildings and quaint shops that sell lace and chocolate. I took over 200 pictures, and they're all of very different things (I know you're rolling your eyes, Daddy), so this is just an overview.
This is the inside of a convent that dates back to the 1500s.
Typical Belgium - a bicycle, beer in the middle of the day.
This is the main square in Bruges. This section showcases building styles from three different periods - 20th century, Renaissance, and Gothic.
This is one of the most popular tourist shots in Bruges - a canal, a wooden house, the bell tower in the background.
The previous three photos are of the outside and inside of a basilica on the main square. It contains a vial of Christ's blood that the Duke of Bruges was awarded for his bravery during the third Crusade. I went inside and touched it and paid 50 cents to light a candle. It was very beautiful.
A chocolate shop...
We went to a brewery and, yes, parents, I drank a beer - unfiltered, straight from the tap, the only place in the world you can get this particular beer on tap. It was delicious.