Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bruges, Belgium

(Yes, like the Colin Farrell movie, "In Bruges.")

This city is amazing! It's a well-preserved medieval city in Belgium with some incredible views. It was magical. It reminded me of Grandma Bon the whole time. I feel like she would have loved this place with the old trees and canals and brick and stone.

There was this one area in Bruges that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) named a world heritage site. They were these old stone houses that nuns lived in. These nuns protested against the corrupt church and created their own monastery, more or less, where they took care of children and created a type of orphanage and basically did amazing stuff that the hypocritical church wouldn't do. (And just for the record, the entire city of Granada in Spain is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It's that cool.) The houses and surrounding area:

Then we found the church in Bruges where the famous "Madonna with Child" by Michelangelo rests. It was incredible to see it just sitting up there. I am constantly reminded by how much history surrounds me here. It is nothing like the States.

Then we meandered to the 83 meter (about 272 feet) tall Belfry. This is the same bell tower in the movie "In Bruges" that sets the most intense scenes.

It is 369 steps to the top and no, there is not, nor will there ever be an elevator. Once at the top, you get a panoramic view of Bruges and the surrounding areas. On a clear day, you can see the North Sea from the top. The tower is crooked and leans over 1.5 meters to one side. Hah! It was €4 to climb to the top. I was the only one of group that wanted to go. So I paid the fee and climbed all 369 steps. They started out as stone, then turned into wood, spiraling all the way. Sometimes the steps were 5 inches apart, sometimes a foot. There was, occasionally, a rope to hold on to as you climbed. At some points, I had to use my hands and feet and pseudo-crawl for a bit. It was crazy! So worth it though. Even though it was a snowy day, I could see so much! Incredible view.

The rest of the day we leisurely walked around the canals and snacked on Belgian waffles.

I liked the last scene because of the dark purple house that Chelsea pointed out to me. If I live here one day for a period of time, it's going to be in that exact house. I decided.

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