November 18, 2012
My Dear Piece of Home,
The enchantment just continues.
What a gift it is to travel Europe in the autumn. Away from peak tourist seasons when the color of the leaves makes everything more magical. Bruges, which has retained much of its medieval architecture, looks as if from a page of a storybook. Quiet and otherworldly, it fills you with wonder and curiosity even as you take a simple stroll through the town.
I regretted having only a few hours to spend in Bruges. I spent half of the time in a cafe having lunch. The Belgians take the time to enjoy their meals, which I didn’t mind at all. I thoroughly enjoyed my filling quiche, a glass of hot chocolate (read: real chocolate in hot milk), and Belgian waffle with powdered sugar.
But that meant I didn’t have much time for anything else. I wanted to climb up the belfry to see panoramic views of Bruges, but the old tower only can hold 70 people at a time and one has to climb many stairs to the top, so the queue was too long and unmoving. I made it right to the edge of the entrance, but I decided I didn’t have enough time left to climb up and down the belfry before the tour bus left. So on the way back I silently but quickly hurried into Bruge’s Notre Dame to see Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child (which was behind a barrier marking restoration-in-progress). I slid in, smelled musty something and heard should-be-calming Gregorian singing and squinted at the Madonna and Child and slid back out of the church to run towards the far parking lot.
Not the way I wanted to experience the time warped, beautiful city of Bruges. Rushed and on a schedule. But perhaps one day I shall return and enjoy Bruges as it should be enjoyed. Want to come along too?
Until next time,