We got going from the free camp a bit later than usual, but were in no particular rush. We headed southwest, then pretty much straight west to Brugge. The old city is surrounded by a large canal and ring-road, which we followed until we saw a parking area with campervans and buses.
We saw the prices they were charging so promptly backed up and got out onto the ring road again. There is free parking allowed on the ring, and we found an excellent spot not far from the Gentpoortbrug bridge over the canal. I have extremely fond memories of Brugge having been there on my backpacking trip many years ago – my expectations were pretty high.
A short walk after going in under a fortified gate led us to a church – I decided to go in and see what the stained glass windows were like, and they were ok.
But what caught my attention was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in a church – and to me lots of things in churches are funny – there was a giant swing hung from the very top of the high ceiling and there was a fellow on it swinging away – he seemed to be enjoying himself.
Jesus on the bench outside was not enjoying himself so much – I wouldn’t either if I knew how much harm and destruction had been done in the world in my name.
Next to the church was a nice park with a gazebo, pond, fountains and beautiful flower beds.
Further on we came to an inner canal and turned left towards a square full of people. There were a couple of vendors selling artwork, etc, and a lot of people posing for f’ing selfies.
We continued on further to a larger square that was ringed by beautiful buildings, including, of course, a bunch of over-priced cafes and restaurants.
Since we hadn’t gotten the fries we craved the other day in Zwalm we chose a ‘fritteria’ – Colin sat at table outside in the sun while I went in and ordered. It was a busy little place and I was pretty hungry but opted to just get fries – all of the ‘food’ was pre-made and they just threw it in the fryer before serving. I also had to get coffee from a machine – when I told the server that I needed one cup with milk and brown sugar he told me to push the ‘coffee complete’ button. I looked and looked for cups but didn’t find any – he noticed my dilemma and handed a stack of paper cups over the counter to me. The fries were actually pretty good – I got mine with mayo this time instead of ketchup.
After eating we walked around the rest of the square – the middle of it was filled with carnival-type booths as the kids are off school this week and hoards of them, as well as tour groups were everywhere.
There are horse-drawn buggies too, and some of the horses were done up very prettily and ‘strutted’ rather than ‘walked’, as if they were proud of how they looked. I hoped they were well treated – at least they all looked well fed.
On our way back out of the inner town I noticed the corner of a building – there was a niche with a madonna and child on the very corner, and right next to it a painting for a bakery. It almost looked like, in addition to giving it the ‘thumbs up’ he was also giving it the finger – ha ha ha, kind of like how I feel.
Returning to the campervan we chose our next destination close to the french border so we won’t have far to go for Sunday’s race. The campground was right in the town of Tournai, and was quite nice – it seems to have a resident cat that’s light orange and looks quite young. The washrooms and shower area are both heated, which is especially nice considering how cold it stills gets at night.
I must add that my experience today in Brugge was not a disappointment at all, except I was amazed, as I frequently am, at the number of tourists and how they can almost ruin a place. I really don’t consider myself a tourist, but rather a traveller – makes a difference, at least to me!