Bruges, aka the Cutest Place on Earth: Belgium trip part 3

Happy New Year! What with the holidays it’s taken me a while to get through posts about my Belgium trip, but finally, finally we have arrived at our last Belgian destination, Bruges. We had been advised by friends in advance that Bruges was pretty much the only place worth going and that it was the most adorable place possible. I was a bit skeptical when we were actually in Belgium, because I thought nowhere could be cuter than Ghent. But I was shown up by the ridiculous-ness that is Bruges.

Bruges is just getting warmed up
Bruges is just getting warmed up

Now I have to admit: when we first arrived in Bruges I was a bit cranky because of a few mistakes on my part, mostly involving the bus arriving at our hotel. The center of Bruges is pretty much an island ringed by rivers and canals, and we had somehow managed to miss our stop (or not even get there yet?) and leave the center of Bruges involving a kilometer+ walk back towards our hotel. But it took about ten seconds for the magic of the all-encompassing adorable-ness to wash away my anger and frustration. Because when there are scenes like this:

awww, cute!
awww, cute! (and remember our trip was about a week before Christmas)

How can you not be charmed? Bruges was in full Christmas mode with lights up and a market in the main square. I’d like to go back to get a sense of Bruges without all the Christmas-y business around, but it certainly was festive:

Belfort (bell tower) with Christmas Market in front
Belfort (bell tower) with Christmas Market in front
ice-skating rink, which I did NOT try
ice-skating rink, which I did NOT try
Christmas Market on the lower left
Christmas Market on the lower left

Because we arrived a bit late in the day, we mostly just wandered around the first night. We did have Frites and I must say that I am a big fan of eating mayonnaise as your condiment with frites. I have never in my life eaten so many french fries, but they were genuinely delicious. And despite the process of double-frying them, they were somehow less greasy than fries in the States. The magic of Bruges again I suppose.

The next morning our first objective was seeing one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside of Italy, the Bruges Madonna. The following photo series is representative of our walk along the Dijver Canal (which our hotel was on) towards the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, that houses the Michelangelo:

Stepping out of our Hotel
Stepping out of our Hotel
Of course there were swans
Of course there were swans
the tower is the Belfort in the center square
the tower is the Belfort in the center square
imagine what it would be like to grow here!? the rest of the world would seem so ugly in comparison
imagine what it would be like to grow up here!? the rest of the world would seem so ugly in comparison
past the Belfort and looking back towards it
past the Belfort and looking back towards it
we marveled at the cuteness
we marveled at the cuteness
The spire on the left is the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk
The spire on the left is the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk

Walking along the Dijver Canal (which we did many times) was probably my favorite thing we did in Bruges. It was quiet and gorgeous. And it led to the Bruges Madonna, so it might just be the most perfect activity in the entire world. Stay tuned for the Bruges Madonna tomorrow…

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