December 14 - The First Feminists

We woke up around 08:00, even slower to get ready than yesterday.  Justin checked the logistics for Paris the next day, so that we would get there a bit sooner rather than “waste” time in Bruges.  He also found a lunch spot, so that we wouldn’t be spending time doing that in the middle of the day.  Crystal did her Duolingo.  Justin took photos of the house and its variety of quirks.  If we had this house, we would put the master bedroom on the first floor, use the second and third floors for offices, guest rooms, etc.  That way the bedroom and a complete bathroom would all be on the same floor, and no need to use the astoundingly difficult stairs to use the toilet in the middle of the night.

We left the Airbnb around 10:30, and walked towards the Church of Our Lady.  On the way we saw some canal cleaners going under bridges that were incredibly short - they basically had to lie flat to go underneath one of the bridges.  We were going to this particular church because it has a statue carved by Michaelangelo, the only one that left Italy during his lifetime.  Once there, it was unclear exactly whether the Michaelangelo statue was in the church itself, or the museum area within the church.  Eventually it became clear we were going to have to pay to see the statue.  We purchased tickets next door, then came back into the church.  

The museum was a bunch of old art, inside a church - not really our cup of tea.  But the Michaelangelo statue was interesting, as we’d never seen any of his work before.  We read that Napoleon stole it in the early 1800s during his European conquest, and then Hitler stole it during WW2, during his European conquest.  The “Monuments Men” recovered it, and a bunch of other stuff, after WW2.  The sleeves on the statue look like actual sleeves, even though they are made out of marble.

Just south of the church, we saw what looked like an archeological dig, with several folks out there closely examining things as they dug down.  South of there we walked through another touristic neighborhood, one we hadn’t been in before.  We were just meandering vaguely in the direction of the train station, to get firm tickets for tomorrow.  As we got close to the train station we saw a walled off area, and Crystal [correctly, as we learned later] figured out it was a nunnery or convent.

At the train station, we took a bit of time to purchase our tickets; it was a very good thing we were doing it today instead of waiting to do it in the morning.  We knew we could go Bruges to Brussels, and then Brussels to Paris on one of the high speed trains.  The ticket agent, to her credit, was explaining we could save a lot of money by going a different route that had another stop or two.  But it would take longer, too.  In the end, we didn’t have to make the decision, as Beverly kindly volunteered to buy us the more expensive tickets.  

After purchasing the tickets, we walked back into town, somewhat along the same route we’d walked to the train station.  We discussed lunch ideas, and Justin indicated that he’d found a potential restaurant.  Crystal indicated she wanted a restaurant near one of the canals.  Justin looked at Google maps, and the restaurant (De Gastro) was by happenstance right near a canal, near the spot we got on the canal tour yesterday.  We split some cheese, sausages, and olives for appetizers.  Beverly got mussels for her starter, and a fish pie with dauphinoise potatoes for her main.  Crystal got garlic and cream mussels and frites - she debated for a long time, but Justin all along knew she was going to order this in the end: “I know how this book ends.”  Justin got a ribeye and frites. Everything was phenomenal - we’ve been very lucky with picking restaurants, mostly from filtering on Google Maps to restaurants with over a 4.5 average review.

We were stuffed and inebriated after lunch, and hung out at the Airbnb for a bit.  Crystal booked a taxi for us to get to the train station tomorrow morning, and Justin found a restaurant near our Airbnb in Paris.  In the mid-afternoon we went to the Fries Museum, just down the street from our Airbnb.  It was pretty lame, but we played a video game where we shot potato guns at bacteria and fungi, so there was at least that.  And we did learn why we call them French fries, versus Belgian fries, as would be correct.  It wasn’t too surprising that it was the fault of American soldiers during WWI, who could not differentiate between the Belgians (who spoke French) offering them the fries, and the French soldiers also in the area.  We finished around 16:15, just as the sun was going down.  We went straight to Duvelorium in the Historium, as Justin suggested, between 16:00 and 16:30.

Justin had noticed the Duvelorium when he was walking around by himself the evening before; it had a nice view over the market square.  He figured it would get busy and we’d have a hard time getting a table if we waited until 17:00 or later, though.  There were people leaving right as we got there, and we got the perfect table, on the north edge overlooking Market Square.  We enjoyed the first hour of darkness and the purple-blue sky that comes with that.  It was pretty much the perfect Christmas-y atmosphere.  The bar filled up quickly, with no more space along the edge available, so 16:30 was pretty much the last time to get there to get a good seat.  Someone came by around 17:45 to say that the bar was closing at 18:00, so we headed out.

We came back home really quick, dropped some stuff, used facilities, then went back to Market Square to get on a horse and carriage ride.  Vic was the horse’s name, and he was all black–half Fresian and half Arabian.  We enjoyed a nice ride around town.  Interestingly, we’d already walked 99% of the roads we took on the ride.  We’d heard or learned 95% of the stuff, but learned that “nuns” weren’t all nuns; some had no interest in the church or religion at all, and were some of “the first feminists.”  They set themselves apart and did good works as the nuns did, but they had no interest in getting married and losing their autonomy.  We got back to Market Square around 19:00 and just went home, since we needed to pack and get ready for an early morning.  We made some reservations for Paris (e.g., the catacombs), and enjoyed some of the booze we got at the Bottle Shop.  We realized we should just go to Sacre Couer on our own, since it was near the train station where we’d be arriving into town.  Beverly indicated that we should find a pharmacy nearby the train station to get our pass sanitaire immediately, so we found a couple options that were quite close.  We got mostly packed, then went to sleep.

Previous Entry
Next Entry