Thursday, 10 June 2010

Bruges #2

Canalside houses viewed from a bridge
Our self-indulgent holiday continued with a visit to the Wednesday produce market, although so early in the day we were reluctant to buy anything to carry around for hours. The cheese looked wonderful, though. Then on to the Half Moon Brewery, which is the only brewery left still operating within the city limits. The guide, a lady, had a very dry sense of humour, but it didn't much look like the brewery was running more than a very basic level of operation, just so it could use the promotional line.

The fish marketWe stayed for a fine lunch with our free beer (served by another scowling waitress), then treated ourselves to a canal trip with a guide who looked like Willie Rushton. While generally walking about in town we were accosted by a very assertive man in period dress with a magnificent moustache, who kissed my hand and wanted to know where we were from. He claimed to have heard of Leamington Spa, and told us correctly that it is in Warwickshire. He also said we had warm smiles, but when he tried to encourage us to visit his shop, we admitted that while our smiles were indeed warm, we had absolutely no money.

Icon built into the corner of a 17th century houseWe wandered at random into a seriously chocolate-focussed street, where virtually every shop claims to sell authentic hand-made artisanal Belgian chocolate. I was vaguely looking for a chocolate medal to award to Lola II because I owe her one, but one shop drew our attention by displaying in its window not only the 'hilarious' chocolate breasts that you sometimes see in novelty shops, but various male and female reproductive parts, some even festooned with trails of white chocolate. Yuck.

Having web access from our accommodation is an unaccustomed luxury. We can check the weather forecast and keep up to date with email as well as feeding my blogging habit. We happened to see a flock of tourists riding Segways - I've always wanted to have a go, so I checked the website. Much too expensive.

The weather on Wednesday was grey but warm, with occasional spots of rain that never really turned into anything. The forecast for today was heavy rain, although it was fine in the morning. We decided not to plan anything except stocking up on groceries, and then found we needed more cash so went for a walk out of town to find an ATM. That was when it started raining, and the rain continued through a delightful cafe lunch and on into the evening.

Whichever angle you look at it, Bruges is one of the most picturesque places I've ever been.

View of rooftops taken from the Brewery roof

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