Saturday, July 16, 2016

Brugge, Belgium

Even though we only spent one night in Brugge, what an experience!  We didn't check into our hotel until after 7pm since we had spent the day in Brussels.  There was still plenty of daylight (it stays light until after almost 10:30pm!) so we decided to have a quick dinner and tour the city.  But first, like I said, eat first! The boys almost always need extra encouragement to get that food into their bellies:
Unlike Daddy! :-P
Charlie spotted a hot-air balloon in the sky. Check out that statue of Mary in the corner of the building!
Gelato after dinner. What else!
I love the design of these old buildings here.
Brugge is also very popular for its lace. So pretty! A lot of stores were already closed (lucky for you, Bobby!) but I did manage to get one lace bookmark and also a handbag (yes, another one!).  I seem to be collecting handbags now from different countries. Who knew Belgium was also popular for tapestry bags:
Wow, impressive liquor store!
And seems like you can find a Subway anywhere these days. Right next door to the Godshuis Spanoghe (an almhouse for the less well-off elderly) established back in 1680!
Graham and Charlie are constantly distracted by the chocolate stores. Thankfully, all of them were closed as well!
A quick photo op by one of the canals. Graham is holding a souvenir key chain to his eye. Ha ha!
Bobby is trying to figure out how far we have walked.  Still a while to the city center!
Impressive brick buildings:
The city was really quiet, which was actually quite nice after hectic days in Amsterdam and Brussels:
And here is the second tallest brickwork tower in the world - the Church of Our Lady, measuring 122.3 meters (401ft).  Impressive!!!
On the way to the city center, we find the city map made out of lace.  WOW!!!
Tin Tin!
And here we have arrived at the city center. Love the colors on this side of the square:
Architecture is so pretty around here.  Actually, this historic city center is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO.  Who knew!
Lots of horses for carriage rides.
What was most impressive was the belfry or bell tower. The bells started playing right at around 9pm as we were approaching the city center.  We thought it was the 9pm chime but there was actually a Carrilon Concert playing.  Too cool!  Check out how Charlie was walking to the bells :-)
video
The boys really loved the bells! So much so they were dancing to it :-)
video
And so much so that they were both sitting nicely and listening to the concert:
Here's the view from the courtyard inside:
And here is the instrument - the carillon that is played.  It is connected to all the 47 bells and is played with a loosely closed fist and the heavier bells are played with a pedal keyboard (with the feet).
As you can see, it's located almost at the very top of the tower. 
I looked up the name of the Carillonneur - the person playing the carillon, and found a YouTube video of Frank Deleu.  Pretty impressive! Click here to view the video.

On the way back to the hotel, we walked by Lover's Lake, which had quite a few swans but unfortunately the sight of feathers everywhere on the grass was not so nice.  Maybe that's why that particular area was fenced up for the swans.
Beyond the lake was a little bit nicer:
Back to Brussels to catch our flight tomorrow morning.  I'm glad we actually spent the night here. The bell tower concert was definitely one to remember!

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