And now the final post on Belgium. I say go. Go to there. Don’t skip Brussels, definitely visit Ghent, and absolutely bathe in the adorability of Bruges. While climbing 300+ steps isn’t exactly what I call a fun afternoon, one thing you absolutely should do in Bruges is climb the Belfort. It’s tall, it’s a bell tower, and supposedly on clear days (which ours was not), you can see the sea. This is the Belfort:
and this is what you see looking down from it (and not even from the highest level!):
and some more:
you see this sort of business from the highest level:
And while the Belfort and the museums in Bruges (we bought the three-day museum pass, which was a helluva good deal) were fascinating and charming. My favorite part of the city was just wandering around. It’s Venice-like in its charms. And that comparison does include the fact that both cities are a bit (or a lot) overwhelmed by their visitors and by the touristy businesses and restaurants meant to serve those visitors. But even when drowning in visitors, Bruges maintains its loveliness (and perhaps even better than Venice does), without feeling Disney-ish. With scenes like this:
The city won me over. Prior to going I was talking to an acquaintance about my travel plans. She said, “you don’t really ever here much about Belgium, do you?” And it’s true, you don’t. But you should.
Italian adventures return tomorrow!