Every year in May there is a roller derby tournament in Gent. We went two years ago and decided to go again this year, only we would stop in Brugge for a day before heading there for the roller derby. That was the plan last time, but then we decided to just explore Gent since we had never been.
Brugge was lovely. I really enjoyed it there. It is not a very big city, at least the downtown parts, you could easily walk from end to end and all around in a day, but I loved wandering the streets.
Lots of brick buildings, I loved the architecture, all the water that you criss crossed all day, all the little statues on the buildings (photos coming), everything. I could see myself living here for a month over the summer and sitting in one of the parks reading by the water all day. It would be pretty perfect.
When we checked into where we were staying (we arrived late the night before a public holiday - Ascension) they told us that there would be a parade the day we were exploring - in the afternoon and another blood turns to liquid event. Last year we were in Naples at the same time and went to the Festival of San Gennaro where they celebrate his blood turning to liquid and if so luck for Napoli. This time it is a bit of Jesus' blood and there is a big parade and celebration. The parade is for the next post as it is a billion photos, but it was a lot of fun. They told us you can reserve a seat along the parade route so first thing in the morning we went to check that out.
You can't see it in this photo, but people were just starting to set out chairs for spectators and so we asked the one place about seats and purchased some for a few Euros each. Then we were all set to explore until parade time!
I had looked and there was a free tour starting from the main square so we wandered over there. Only no one showed up to run the tour. There were a few of us waiting and waiting, others tried to call the tour people or send an email, but nothing. So we made our own tour. Raymond had found a self guided one online so we wandered around and looked at all the sights it listed (and anything else we wanted). These next photos are all from the main square - Markt - and the buildings surrounding it
There was stadium seating set up in the middle since this is where the parade ended, though I think you have to purchase these seats way in advance
It was a beautiful day!
We wandered upon this fenced off courtyard with lots of people standing around waiting for something to happen. Maybe with these knights/guards, but we waited for a bit and then got bored and moved on. Next time, if we go for Ascension again, we will have to look up all the other things happening around the city. We stumbled upon a few things, or a few things just ending, that we didn't know about.
I loved the look of the city!
Poortersloge (Burgher's Lodge)
Old timber framed building
This was a quiet street close to the park with the windmills and a few of the places were for sale. I could definitely see staying here for a month or so and enjoying this beautiful little city center.
Windmills! Only one, the one with the flags, was operating
Lots of statues on buildings all over the city
There were lots of very full boat tours since it was so nice out
After a long morning of wandering it was time for some food. We went to Indian Tandoori and had the vegetable pakoras
Bainhan Bharta, which was a roasted eggplant dish, Aloo Gobi which was a bit different than we have had before. The eggplant dish was so so good. I need to try making it at home as I don't remember seeing it on a menu before.
That was our morning exploring Brugge. Next up is the Procession of the Holy Blood.