We got up pretty early this morning to a 50* sunny day. At least most of it was but it did start light rain later this evening. Had a typical breaky here at the hostel and rented bikes to see as much of the town as possible.
I am so in love with this town. The old old houses line the canals and churches stand watch over big cobblestone squares. All the houses are very old and line the streets with only steps into the street to break up the line of housesm no porches or big window boxes. The architecture everywhere is amazing.
We went to so many churches and cathedrals that I have no clue in what order we did them but ill tell you about some of the more impressive ones. We went to a place called the Belfry of Bruges that is a medieval bell tower. For a fee of course you can climb the 366 stairs to the top. We voted to buy waffles rather. Haha. We walked around several of the big squares and into shops of chocolate and lace and little bakeries.
We also stopped at a place called the Secret Garden where a very old house had the roof fall in etc. and instead of tearing it down they cleared out the rubble and began planting flowers and bringing in pots so the whole whimsical brick house is full of plants and flowers. Also an orange cat that came whipping out of a window box.
We stopped for lunch for paninis which here are about a foot long and sort of like a soft skinny baguette. The next stop was was the Church of Our Lady where one of Michelangelos marble statues is. It is one of only a couple of his works that is outside of Italy and is titled “Madonna and Child.” The church itself is incredible with the brickwork tower being the second highest in the world. They have recently found original artwork on the ceilings and some walls by scraping away layers of paint. Most of the churches we go into here have paintings dating back to the 1500s or some other far away time.
We spent some time there before going to the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a place famous for having a supposed vial of Jesus blood. See more about it here. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_the_Holy_Blood It is very reverent in the small church and many people come away weeping. I know there are probably many skeptics among you but when I stood in front of it and thought just what if this really was the blood of Jesus, I felt so incredibly small and it seemed to become so real to me that Jesus had lived on earth just like me. And to think that his blood would have been spilled for me and my sins. What a feeling.
We stopped for coffee at this little vegan cafe where hot chocolate is actual belgium milk chocolate cubes that they pour hot milk over and drinking it tastes like heaven.
Came back to the hostel and relaxed a bit. We met two of our roomies. One is a guy from Australia and the other guy is from India. Both of them are divers and the guy from Australia told us to definitely scuba dive by tulum and playa del Carmen in mexico and we told him we had this Christmas and he was stoked! The guy from India is a rescue diver and had performed over 150 rescues. His dads friend owns an island and for this guys 21st bday they had the island to themselves. I don’t know anyone else who owns an island just to be clear.
We had shawarma for supper..I fell asleep and now woke up to finish this. Cheers to everyone🎉 and a happy anniversary to my amazing mom and my dear dad who I miss so so much.