Thursday, January 23, 2014

Birthday Trip

When the Man of the Place turned forty, we had a party.  When his fiftieth birthday rolled around, our son George and I surprised him with a trip to Paris. As we are still together, healthy and employed for his sixtieth I thought another birthday trip was in order.  This trip to celebrate the beginning of another decade saw us taking the train to Bruges in Belgium.

Neither The Man of the Place or I have ever been to Belgium other than to change flights at the airport.

I think the main industries are tourism, chocolate production and beer. It is a stunningly beautiful place.  We struggled to find a bad view within the walls of the old city.

Because it is geared for tourists, the centre of the place is expensive.  Even a beer is expensive.  Now I don't mind that the beer is expensive as Belgians are brilliant at making beer.  Most of those beers are quite a bit stronger than the beer we have become accustomed to, so you don't have to buy nearly as much.
One place boasted that they served 400 varieties of beer.  Can you imagine what the beer cellar looks like in that place?  From the few bars we went into, it seems that every beer made in Belgium has its very own glass.  Part of a new bartender's learning curve must be to know which glass goes with with which beer.

We stayed in a very elegant hotel.  I didn't know how lovely the hotel would be until we showed up.  Hotel Navarra was delightful and I cannot fault the hotel in any way.  

Here is a view of the place where we had lunch on the second day.  The white building over looking the peaceful canal.  Very good food but the service was slightly inattentive.  I felt as if we were a bit more elegant ourselves, we would have been treated with more deference.  Ah, never mind.  I wasn't there to have my ego stroked, we were there for lunch.  Beautiful food, good location and high price.  Birthday treats only for that place.

We walked a great deal.  One of the places that I definitely wanted to see was the beguinage.  On  the way to the medieval beguinage, we walked through this garden.

Walked past this lock . . .

and past this house next to the canal.

The beguinage was a peaceful oasis. . .

No loud voices. . .don't walk on the grass.

If you wish to take photos for a commercial reason, you must have permission from Mother Superior.

I wasn't worried about that so much.  I don't sell my photographs or use them to promote anything.

The daffodil shoots are beginning to pop through, telling us that winter, though miserable, will not last forever.

There is always a shop, even in the most peaceful and religious places.  Another little museum.  It was Sunday, therefore it was closed.

The main gait.  I am certain that it used to be more of a barrier, to protect those inside.

These ducks were just to the right of the gate.  "We've got wings.  We can get in anytime we want."

The bridge was beautiful as well.  Okay, there wasn't an ugly part of the entire walk.

The hard part was selecting which beautiful views to share.  I also didn't want to walk around the entire weekend, looking at Bruges through a camera lens.    Though it seems like I took loads of photos, the camera stayed in my pocket most of the time.

We stayed in the old part of the city, very close to Markt.  We found the city to be very easy to walk around.  Be careful if you are prone to tripping, as the streets are all cobbled.  It is a bit expensive but if you are sensible and have a budget, you'll be fine.   I would love to visit Bruges again.  If we do we would always go in the winter, I am told that in the summer, the crowds can be heavy. Big crowds are a drag.


Anonymous said...

Wow Peg and H,
What a great trip! Happy Birthday H. Just sitting at my desk here in miserably cold and snowy michigan, I feel like I just took a little vay-cay myself. thanks for sharing. Katie

dogbait said...

Nice pics. Might have to change my opinion of Belgium now. Too quick through the place last time and didn't do it justice. Might be in Europe next year.

Betty said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Happy belated birthday to your hubby.