We both woke up early after a good night’s sleep. After the little bit of walking around last evening, we were excited to explore the town. The hotel’s breakfast provided many choices and we found out that everything is homemade. Suffice to say, we both enjoyed a hearty breakfast.
Since the maid was working in our room, we decided to go for a little walk. We ended up taking some pictures and then a canal boat ride. Being earlier or pre day-trippers, the boat wasn’t jam packed and provided for a nice tour.
Funny item, when we were boarding the boat there was a young Japanese couple already on. When I hopped into the boat and sat on the same side as them, the boat rocked a little and they were giggling nervously like we were going to tip. For a brief moment I felt like Godzilla.
Anyways, the boat ride was really nice. Each ride lasts about 35 minutes and you cover a good amount of ground. The captain provides commentary and points out the highlights of Bruges in an entertaining manner. Below are some pictures from our journey.
Walking back to the hotel, we stopped by a place that they call the beer wall. There are 1,100 different beers made throughout Belgium and they have the majority of them available and on display. We browsed the display picking out some of our favorite labels.
We had to make a stop back at the hotel to grab our sunglasses and to slather on some sunscreen before going for a walk. We walked along the canal and headed for the Church of Our Lady. It was built in the fifteenth century, took two centuries to complete and has a bell tower that is 122 meters tall. It has beautiful stained-glass windows and contains many artistic treasures highlighted by the only sculpture by Michaelangelo that left Italy during his lifetime. It is a statue carved in 1504 that is the Madonna and Child.
Leaving the church, we continued our walk under skies that we will remember as being “Bruges blue”. We wound our way along the canal passing by quaint little bridges and houses. Every few minutes another boat would cruise by loaded with camera-wielding passengers.
Sue and I were thinking about digging canals between the retainage ponds back home and giving people tours of the neighborhood. Our HOA probably wouldn’t approve it without getting a cut of the profits, so that idea bubble has been officially burst!
Upon returning to the hotel, it was time for drinks on the patio and a little people watching. The drinks were glasses of champagne and the people watching was at the expense of those lining up for the afternoon boat rides.
Heading upstairs, we just chilled in the room and listened to Helmut Lotti tunes for a while. Since he is Belgian, we hoped there was a chance that he might have a concert while we were here. Unfortunately, we found out he actually lives in Germany these days.
Dinner tonight was at Restaurant Couvert. It was literally a three minute walk from the hotel and that’s because we walk slow. It is a wonderful restaurant and was recommended by many people. We selected the tasting menu with the wine pairings. We now know why people recommend the restaurant. Everything was delicious! We had a starter of smoked salmon, followed by dorade fish, then a main of roast veal and vegetable medley and dessert was a watermelon and strawberry mix with a mint chiffonade. The paired wines went well with the courses.
Before heading back to the hotel, we took a little night walk and took some pictures.
All in all it was a beautiful first day in Bruges. I can see why people say it is like a fairy tale city. It has a little of everything for travelers – historic buildings, canals and boat rides, beautiful architecture, delicious food and friendly people.