We got up very early on our last morning in Ostend, both of us the anxious to begin the next leg of our adventure- Bruges! Dan and I are the perfect traveling companions; it is so easy and comfortable- we just see life and the world in the same way. Travel can be stressful, so I’m thankful to be experiencing it all with my soulmate.
We took the train for the short ride to Bruges and went directly to our hotel to store our luggage until check-in, then heading out to explore. We are here for two full days, so our plan is to see as much as possible of this incredibly beautiful city. With its origins in the 14th and 15th centuries, Bruges is steeped in history, so there is a lot to see and experience.
Just around the corner from our hotel we found what had been a convent. We walked around the serene grounds on the worn cobblestones and then into the old church. As I walked into the gloom of the sanctuary and took it all in, I began to cry at the beauty of it all. Everywhere I looked was something exquisite. Even the air was filled with history, and I could almost hear the whispered prayers of the millennia. I am a very spiritual person but not religious, but old churches touch me in a way I can’t really describe.
Where Brussels and Ostend are an eclectic mix of old and new, Bruges seems to be a place that time forgot, and they make every effort to keep it that way. Walking hand in hand with Dan over cobblestone streets, many languages swirling all around us, the sites and sounds of this beautiful city…this place is Heaven to me. I can already tell that Bruges will be a soul place for me, one of those places that resonates with your very being, a place where you feel home- even though you may have only been there for a short time.
We took a tour of the local brewery close to our hotel (an athletic experience involving hundreds of steep and narrow staircases through mazes of claustrophobic spaces and hobbit doors…totally worth it for the views of the city and the tasty beer at the end).
A canal boat tour followed, along with a bus tour of the city. We had wonderful guides who shared the rich history of the city with us in Dutch, French, and English, always amazing me with how seamlessly they transition from one language to the next.
The day ended with a carriage ride around the city with a lovely young driver and a horse named Yarrow-perhaps my favorite part of the day. There is nothing like the sound of horses trotting on cobblestone streets. Much more to come today as we explore Bruges. How grateful I am.