Brugge!

abcd The O-Folk went to Brugge, Belgium, and all I got you were these stupid photographs. That's what happens when you rely on a tightwad. We signed up for a bus tour that took us to Brugge for ten bucks a head, a deal you can't beat with a stick -- told you I was a tightwad. The occassion was the annual Christmas market, which I thought was going to be really huge, like the ones we went to in Berlin. Turned out to be a few stalls in the city square, but the city was still great to look at. Here's a shot of the city from the top of the carillon, a belltower near the city's center, where the Christmas market was.

abcd The bus dropped us off in a market square on Saturday morning, which must be their big shopping day because the square was chock full of market stalls and, since the Christmas market wasn't going to open for a couple hours, we took a good, long time checking them out. The weather we had that day was the kind of cold where you don't realize how cold you are until you can't feel your fingers. Here's Barb and the boys in front of a tea room, one of dozens around the edge of the square, where we stopped to warm up.

abcd Here's another shot of the picturesque buildings in the square where we saw the Christmas market. This is the Flemish style of architecture, as if I know what that means. The city seems to be one big shopping district and tourists are thick underfoot, but frankly we thought the shop keepers were a bit brisk with us. Not that it stopped us from barging in and asking for stuff.

abcd Not a bad shot of a typical commercial street. The city was full of these winding streets -- wandering was about the only way to see anything. If you started out with a plan, you ended up wandering anyway because it was so easy to get lost. If you stick to the main streets, though, you'll eventually end up in a square, and then you're not lost any more.

abcd Our big-ticket item for this trip was a ride in a horse-drawn carriage with an English-speaking guide to point out scenes of interest. One of the stops along the way was the Lake of Love; there were lots of these little ponds, linked by canals, thoughout the city.

abcd Here's a shot Tim took when we stopped beside the Lake of Love. He liked the horse head fountain. I'm there mostly just for color.

abcd We had just enough time to take a side trip to a cathedral where we could see one of Michaelangelo's statues on the altar. Not enough light on the altar to snap a picture of it, sorry, but I did manage this shot of the very dramatically-lit vaults of the nave.

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abcd Some of us couldn't manage to stay awake through the ride on the ferry across the channel, which is probably just as good. That's Sean wrapped in his cloak, to Tim's left.


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