We only had a few days in Brugge, so we couldn't let the intermittent rain keep us from touring. A couple claps of thunder put a speedy little spring in my step and hurried us along as we tromped around getting wet. Temps were in the mid 50s, so it was a bit chilly.
It has become our own little family ritual to visit a local grocery store when we travel. Trinkets and souvenirs are fine, but we enjoy checking out the local chips and sweets and breads. I bought a snack size bag of Paprika flavored chips for .63 euros and a Pepsi Max for .65 euros, so it was definitely a great deal. Plus I enjoy the writing in a foreign language found on the packaging.
By the time we arrived at Church of Our Lady after lunch, we were looking a bit like drowned rats after walking through the old city center streets. The main reason I wanted to tour this sanctuary was to see the Michelangelo sculpture of Madonna and Child that was created around the time the church was finished in the early 1500s.
And what were the girls doing while the husband and I were admiring this amazing piece of art? They were parked on a bench warming themselves at a space heater for the docents that had been vacated until the next tour. I'm so glad they're appreciating all of the art and culture we're exposing them to while taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity to live in Europe for a few years. Don't they look grateful?
Upon exiting the church, we discovered that the rain had stopped. We zipped just across from the church to the canal boat company recommended by our trusty tour writer Rick. Cute, right, with the painted wooden shoes across the top.
About 2 minutes after we hopped on the boat, it started to rain again. See the pink with green polka dots umbrella below? The youngest daughter stayed huddled under that thing the entire time, even after it stopped raining near the end of our ride. The boat driver had large almost golf-sized umbrellas he passed out to us when it started raining, so the teen and I shared one. The younger daughter's umbrella was only partially exposed since she stayed crouched down in-between me and the husband's big bumbershoots. The area of my jeans just above the knee were soaked clear through by the time we disembarked since her umbrella dripped on me the entire time. Obviously we should have just left her at the dock underneath the covered area since she saw absolutely nothing.
I think maybe she did peer out from under her umbrella when we passed the little island with swans on it. Maybe.
What I enjoyed were the facades with building dates on them. Below you'll see a few I snapped from the canals - 1675, 1720 and 1608.
We snooped around the city a bit more (fried dough balls covered in powdered sugar, anyone?) and then returned to the hotel in the late afternoon for a break. And it's a good thing we did because about 15 minutes later some pea-sized hail started falling with the rain.
Before we left Brugge, I just had to visit this shop.
Kathe Wohlfahrt (the youngest daughter giggles when I say the last name) is a German company based in Bavaria that sells Christmas decorations and ornaments. I would have loved to get my hands on one of those tall pyramid candle spinning thingies in the window.
And then I checked the price - sticker shock! A three tiered rather plain one costs the equivalent of $250, so I can only imagine how much damage that tallest one would do to a checking account. Therefore, I opted for the smaller one seen below. I knew I would have to wrestle the very square and ungainly box on three separate trains in two different countries to get it home. I chose this one because I collect Santas and this was the most colorful one on display. I may have to splurge on a larger one when I visit the German Christmas markets with my mother in late November because they're just so darned precious.