Thursday, September 6, 2012

Through 63... I think: Bruges and Antwerpen

The next weekend, we went to the idyllic town of Bruges.  And when I say idyllic, I mean hardcore cute-as-a-button, every-house-is-a-doll-house, even-in-the-tourist-filled-areas-it's-calm-and-relaxing kind of idyllic.  Bet you didn't even realize...

Our first stop was to an old church and lace-making museum (exteriors pictured at the top of this post).  The church had some of the creepier elements I've ever seen.  The skulls at the altar combined with the dark brick and the tiny door in the back that let you to a crypt with a plaster body in it (below) made it one of the more unique old-church experiences I've ever had.

The lace-making museum itself was pretty small, and the exhibits were all pretty much examples of hand-made lace of various sorts.  The really interesting part was a room full of elderly women who were all in the process of making lace.

To make the lace, they had patterns set out with pins in them to loop the thread along.  The thread was attached to these long bobbins that they scooted around to tie into the pattern.  The lady in the first two pictures is the one in the video I posted earlier... and she moved so fast I could hardly believe she was actually making lace!

After that, we started into other wanderings.  Above is an example to the cute "doll houses" all over the place.

On the right in the picture above, you will see the artisan sandwich shot where I got a killer little sandwich for lunch.  On the left, the shop where I bought myself and my friend some souvenir lace.

Next we got a boat tour.  There are canals going through many of the main streets in Bruges, like in Amsterdam or Venice.  And our tour guide had the BEST mustache!

This has nothing to do with anything, but every time I see it I think, "STOP!  Hammer time..."  I also want to know where the other finger went.

Next to the church, saw some street performers and went to shops, then Kira, Andrew and I rented bikes and darted around the city for a while.  It was sheer bliss.

Above is a random photo I took in Bruxelles.  Just thought it was pleasant.

Below is the next weekend where we went to Antwerpen!  The station in Antwerp is really pretty, and pretty much everyone pulls out their cameras for a few shots.  Of course, Carl the Stegosaurus got photographed, too.

The main church was lovely... I do enjoy the white walls better than dark brick.  So much better for lighting.

(above) Ark of the covenant?

Then we hung out at the town square, took pictures, touched the fountain water (eeeewwww...)

We found a castle and went inside.  It had actually been turned into a mini-museum about water and the ecosystem for kids...

Then we (accidentally) ended up in a printing museum.  Being in a museum full of old books made our day off feel uncomfortably similar to being at work...

The rest of our exploits included ice cream, seeing some old guys playing bocce in a street that was under construction, and finding a flea market where two out of four of us (Lindsey had run off to Germany that weekend) bought watches for 5 euro each.

Then back to the station to get picked up for dinner.  The professor we were working with had some friends by Antwerp who invited us all for dinner.  The dinner was incredible, and their house out in the trees was beautiful and made me think of New England.

After a long day that included getting rained on thoroughly during our after-dinner walk, we finally got back to the station after dark and headed back to good ol' Bruxelles.

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