September 2016
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Bruges

Our next stop was the lovely small city of Bruges. It’s a place I’ve decided to call Disney World for medievalists. Just walking around is amazing with the number of old, medieval buildings, but all the time you’re aware that the city has been restored and cleaned up just for tourists. Doesn’t make the experience any less amazing, although I’m not a huge fan of the many horse-drawn carriages that others seem to delight in.

Anyway! Walking into town, approaching the Markt, the sights begin:

We visited a house that gave refuge to Edward IV and Charles II, both kings of England:

And a gorgeous church, where we saw Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child:

One thing I noticed is that churches in Bruges tended to be very colorful, with paintings and decorations everywhere. It was in stark contract to the churches we saw in Amsterdam and those I’m familiar with here in England, which are still beautiful but very austere. I know they used to be colorful (at least in England) so I’m sure that has something to do with the Protestantism of both the Netherlands and the UK, but it was still very cool to see what churches look like with all that decoration.

The city is also simply gorgeous to walk around, with canals and parks and beautiful buildings everywhere (many of them emanating the smell of chocolate):

minnewater park

We also decided to spoil ourselves just a tiny bit because my part of the trip was almost over:

Unsurprisingly, I am definitely planning to go back. Bruges was just a nice place to spend some time. If I ever look for a relaxing weekend away in a gorgeous setting, I know exactly where to go.

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