Since we had some time, we went to explore the neighborhood. We headed north on our street and wandered through the side streets. The passing buses had lots of passengers, which was remarkable to us until we realized it was Friday and people were going to work! Oh, to be a tourist all the time.
As we explored, we came across Sint Jakobskerk, which was, and still is, a parish church for the neighborhood. Jacob posed for a photo.
|Jacob dwarfed by his own door!|
|It says it's my church!|
We walked around and I remembered that there was a geocache in the area. Luckily the GPS was in my pocket. We were able to locate the cache after circling the church. The church wasn't open yet so we didn't go inside. Instead, we headed back for breakfast.
The breakfast room was a side room on the ground floor. We had some lovely breads and cold cuts from the buffet. The lady of the hotel asked what was our drink preference and if we wanted eggs. We ordered tea and hard boiled eggs. Both were delicious. Lucy had an egg too. Jacob stayed true to eating cereal with raisins. The children both had nice mugs with little cookies inside and a funny face on the outside. But they didn't have hot chocolate, for which Belgium is famous. Someday they will be old enough!
After breakfast, we walked to the Markt, then down the Blind Donkey Alley to the canal.
|The alley's entrance wasn't as interesting as...|
|... the knocker nearby!|
|Lucy takes her turn!|
We saw some boats and other fun local sites on our way to the church of Our Lady, which is famous for displaying the only statue by Michelangelo that left Italy during his lifetime.
|Watching a boat that we'd ride the next day|
|Lovely canal view|
|Church of Our Lady in the distance!|
The church is quite impressive. Its tower is the tallest of the three that dominate the Bruges skyline. Inside had many side chapels as well as fine paintings and sculptures from the long history of art. Especially noteworthy is Michelangelo's Madonna and Child, as well as the tombs of Charles the Good and his daughter Mary of Burgundy (Flandria Nostra from yesterday's statue and geocache) by the main altar. Lucy was a little antsy in the church and kept running around and being noisy. She didn't get us in trouble but she did get us moving along.
|Michelangelo's Madonna and Child|
|Bas relief Pieta by the main altar|
|St. George in stained glass|
|Altar with more stained glass|
Leaving the church, we walked to get a snack at a totally awesome chocolate shop called The Old Chocolate House. We had to go upstairs for the tea room. The place was empty except for us. I ordered hot chocolate, selecting dark chocolate over milk or white chocolate. I also ordered it with "the works," which meant a side plate with the following: two almond cookies, a tiny almond muffin, a tiny lemon muffin, a chocolate with strawberry cream inside, a chocolate with chocolate cream inside, creme brulee, chocolate mousse, and a chocolate cup filled with dark chocolate chips. The cup was for my steaming cup (more like the size of a bowl) of milk. The cup came with a whisk. One drops as much chocolate as one wants and whisks it up into a chocolate delight. My wife ordered tea and a waffle, because how can you have too many Belgian waffles? This waffle was a circle of heart-shapes. The children were going to share a brownie, but Jacob traded for my almond muffin and Lucy just raided my plate for as much as she could get. Also, she took a couple of sips from my hot chocolate. So she is old enough for hot chocolate!
|We should have taken pictures of the treats, but we were too overwhelmed with joy|
We walked back and stopped in at a grocery store to buy some simple things for lunch. We learned from yesterday that a late morning snack can ruin your appetite for a big lunchtime meal. Back at the hotel, Jacob had his peanut butter and raisin sandwich, Lucy had yogurt and bread, and Mommy and Daddy had rolls with cold cuts and water. The children headed off to nap time and I headed off to see some of the less child-friendly sites (coming in the next post!).