These are the bikes parked at Ghent railway station. I cannot even begin to imagine the hair-raising fun of riding in the snow - over cobblestones too!
So.... here we have just another chocolate shop window display - with a twist. I can think of numerous people who may love a gift like this but I just don't know how I am going to get them home unscathed and then there's the question of explaining it all to Customs isn't there?
This is the main market square of Brugges - see the SNOW?? It started with freezing wet rain of giant proportions. You know those gigantic drops that completely ruin the open guide book, causing all the pages to curl up and stick together? Then it turned to giant fluffy flakes, similar to those that created the Euurostar havoc by stuffing up the electronics. We were going to do a walking tour of Brugges but with the stuck-together guide book and the icy conditions, it was straight onto a little bus tour for us! Poor Spud was absolutely frozen.
So, on advice of our very funny Belgian tour bus driver, we went to Breydel De Conine on Breidelstraat for the local speciality dish - moules and frites! In other words, mussels (in white wine) with chippies. It was completely scrumptious and all tossed down the hatch with a Jupiter Blonde (beer - not stripper!). Meanwhile, Spud being all chilled settled for fish soup and hot coffee. It was just what we all needed to make us warm and toasty.
Why is this picture so tiny? This is mum & Steve in Brugges outside the Stadhuis (town hall) which was buit between 1376 and 1420. It was an absolutely beautiful Gothic building. The architecture is astonishing and everything is so old! Being Christmas and all, I had the urge to visit the Heilig Bloed Basiliek (Basilica of the Holy Blood) and actually venerated the sacred phial containing blood and water washed from the body of Christ. Yes... me! I just had to see it. Apparently it was brought here in 1150. It is Christmas after all and I always get a bit carried away in these Catholic churches. The Basilica was absolutely mind-boggling and I am devastated that we were not able to take photos :o(
Another tiny photo. What am I doing wrong...? Anyway, this is a scene over a canal in Brugge. See the ice on the water? Brugge was absolutely phenomenal in its history and architecture but I'm afraid I have to tell you that the THOUSANDS of people swarming through the city kind of spoiled it. It was absolutely packed and I am not overly fond of crowds. We went into a store to buy Spud some leggings and the crowds at the check-out were honestly 7 deep!
The other thing that has been a shock is the much talked about Christmas Markets. Well, Spud and I were thinking they must be full of stalls selling local handicrafts and home-made bikkies but instead, there are carnival rides, hot dog stands and cheap Chinese shit which clashes very horribly with the graciousness and austerity of the history in these towns. Am I being too harsh?