Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunshine, finally!

Everyone told me that Belgium is a rainy country, but I am only starting to see this for myself.  It rained pretty much everyday for like two weeks here.  Saturday was the first day in a while without raindrops in the forecast, so we decided to get out and take a drive to Bruges (or Brugge to the Flemish).  We are so lucky to have this beautiful city an easy 1 hour and 15 drive away (perfect timing for Ava to catch a nap on the way there and back). 

We had a great day just walking around, enjoying the rain free weather, window shopping and checking out the disappointing Christmas market.  Enjoy the pictures from our day. 

The Markt (The Center Square)

Belgium is divided into three regions: Walloon, Flemish, and Brussels-Capitol.  Each region has its own language making things a little complicated (especially when towns have different names depending on which region you find yourself).  We live in Walloon, which is French speaking.  Bruges is in the Flemish region, which is Flemish (derived from Dutch) speaking.  The capitol is officially bilingual (actually tri-lingual as most people speak English). In Walloon, center squares are called Grande Place.  In Flemish, the center square is called the Markt.  Bruges has a beautiful Markt with many cafes and the Belfry at the center. 

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The Christmas market was in the Markt.  Apparently you need to watch your wallets while here.  Bruges12-29-12 (39)

Belfry- Built in 1240 and then rebuilt in 1280 after a fire.  The top portion was added on in the 1400s.  You can climb 366 steps to the top for a fee. 

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Ava at the inside of the Belfry courtyard.  That is the line to climb to the top behind her.Bruges12-29-12 (40)

Burg Square

This is the earliest inhabited part of Bruges (as early as the 2nd century).  This was also the center of Bruges when it was the wealthiest city in Europe and is home to the Town Hall.

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Pictures around Bruges

canal on the outskirts of town

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It is a little hard to see in this picture, but do you notice the Simpsons reference. You will definitely see it in the next picture. Bruges12-29-12 (8)

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Interesting architecture.  Bruges12-29-12 (10)

The tower from the Church of Our Lady.  In this church you can find the only Michelangelo outside of Italy. Bruges12-29-12 (16) 

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My wonderful neighbor, Melissa.  Though it looks like she is trying to get away from me in the picture:)

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And no trip to Bruges is complete without a little treat for the ride home.  Chocolaote from Dumon, a family owned and operated chocolatier.

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This is not an actual strawberry, but marzipan and white chocolate. 

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