Saturday, February 14, 2015

Bruges and beyond

WP_20150214_007I hadn’t planned to spend Valentines on the highway.  But pitch schedules, ferry prices, Carnival friends all boxed in the travel dates.

And then there was the moment that the ape and the banana climbed on board….

I’m not sure that they ever got to Prague: this was one of 30 student teams racing from Edinburgh to the Continent for charity at half-term.  The egg that they were protecting had long since broken and they weren’t sure how to get across the Channel, but they tucked in back between suitcases and grocery boxes and slept most of the way to Dover.

WP_20150214_015The crossing was easy beyond the usual winter cold, and we made mid-afternoon arrival in Dunkirk.  Rather than rush straight through to Maastricht, it made more sense to drop off the E40 into Bruges for a dip into moules and chocolate.

I’ve always liked Bruges.  Although the best bits aren’t accessible in winter, the Grote Markt square, surrounded by ornate gothic towers and travée brugeoise shorefronts, is a delight at sunset, when the contrasts and colours are at their best.

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With the Valentine’s Day holiday in full swing at evening,the chocolatiers were staying open late and doing their best to attract the forgetful and desperate.

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The 13th century Golden Age . core is surrounded by 15th century canals, built to re-establish the city’s authority and connection to the sea.  Trade never developed to the level expected, but the waterways set off the city walls and buildings and helped to establish it as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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