I'm back from Bruges. Well, I've actually been back for a week now, but been making the most of the good weather (isn't April supposed to be known for its showers?) & been out in the garden (digging, sowing seeds, weeding, pricking out, digging, potting on, weeding, sowing the ten thousand varieties of speckly beans I've been hoarding all winter and did I mention the digging..?).
Unemployment be damned, the tulips are flowering!
The holiday was an unexpected gift - 4 days in the lovely city of Bruges, travelling by ferry (and I'm a fox that likes to get her paws wet), with MikeyFox's family for his fathers 60th birthday. Having never been on a family holiday before, some things took a little getting used to (like Having An Itinerary & being woken up at 7am to Discuss Plans For The Day*). But since it was a free holiday it would be churlish to complain (especially when there were pubs to scuttle off to in the evening).
If you do find yourself in Bruges, I really recommend the Flanders Field tour. Run by the lovely Phillipe Uyttenhove, who takes you in his minibus around Passchendale, Hill 60, the memorials around Flanders where he grew up & the Menin gate in Ypres. It was real pleasure to spend the day with such a knowledgeable person filled with passion for his home & heritage. The website is here and you'll not find a better guide to the area.
(No pictures, folks. Didn't seem appropriate).
A few photos.
The Dijver canal and a weeping peach tree. As you can see, everything in Bruges is freakin' gorgeous.
A tour of the old brewery, De Halve Maan. There is a shiny modern brewery there too, making the famous Bruges Zot (Zot meaning 'fool') the only beer brewed in the city.
View of the city. The fancy pad in the middle is the St Salvatore cathedral
And the finest drinking establishment in all of Belgium, the Staminee de Garre. Tucked away in an alley round the back of the Basilica of the Holy Blood**, it's tiny, and the floors slope so violently that you'll spend the evening trying to stop the tablecloth sliding to the floor & the beers are lovely! If you can find it, try the wheat beer. Try all the beers!
And I'll leave you with this, from the St George Memorial church in Ypres.
*Which always ended up being stuck between a speed-walker who wants to get the Groening museum (nothing to do with the Simpsons - I checked) & Gruuthus done before 11am and a dawdler fiddling with his camera, while having little have-we-lost-someone episodes.
**Which we visited on the first day, though decided against any fondling of the Holy Plasma, favouring instead lighting a candle for MaFox & The Impending Surgery. Just because I was the only Heathen in Catholic School doesn't mean I'm not prepared to hedge my bets, y'know.