Bruges, Belgium Day 83

So I only had one full day left in Bruges, and boy did I make the most of it. I started off by heading to De Halve Maan for the brewery tour. It was really interesting, and you get a beer at the end, so all in all, a great tour! This brewery goes back 5 or 6 generations, and is the only family brewery left in Bruges city centre. I had to go up and down a LOT of steep stairs to tour the brewery, but it was well worth it. They take their beer *very* seriously in Belgium. It’s sort of like Germany, where they consider it more of a food source rather than a drink that will get you drunk. The getting you happy (as our guide called it!) was just sort of a side benefit. There are hundreds of varieties of beer in Belgium, and that’s because they’re allowed to add things like spices and herbs to their brews. They have fruit beer as well, with flavours like cherry and raspberry. The reason this type of beer came about was that they would have excess fruit at the end of the harvest and this was a good way to preserve it. I tried the cherry one, and it was so refreshing and delicious, even though it was only 3% alcohol. Our guide was telling us about another “touristy” brewery that sells banana and chocolate flavoured beer. She made an acerbic face as she was saying it and said, you have been warned. I’ve tried chocolate beer in Vancouver, and while it’s not something I would buy again and again, it was kind of interesting… Banana beer though? That just doesn’t jive for me.
         So many chocolates, so little time (to eat them, to exercise enough to burn them off…)
The beer tour. This is their website for anyone that is interested.

The view from the rooftop of the brewery. Steeple of Church of Our Lady in the background.

I just thought this sculpture was kind of cool!
More provocative chocolates, this time for the ladies. No, I didn’t buy any. (:
This is more my style of chocolates! Duckies!!!!!!!
Church of Our Lady. This was built in the 13th century and houses one of the only Michelangelo sculptures found outside of Italy.
And here it is! Michelangelo’s Virgin and Child. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but so beautiful.
The tombs of Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy and his daughter Mary are within the wall of the church as well.
This is Mary.
The church had some gorgeous stained glass windows.
Next we went on a canal boat ride. It was fun and the guide gave us little bits of information as we went along.
He pointed out this dog in the window who was there to greet us.
After the boat I climbed the gazillion steps to get to the top of the belfry. This was at the halfway point, and that is Markt Square from above.
I made it! I had some serious jelly legs going back down, let me tell you… The view was amazing from up there. It was a crystal clear day, and well worth the gazillion stairs I climbed.
The belfry was built between the 13th and 15th centuries and was built as a symbol of communal freedom, independence of the Flemish middle classes from feudal power and independence from the church. Before the belfry was built, it was only church bells that marked each hour. This belfry has carillons which is made up of 47 bells, so it can play numerous songs in beautiful harmonies. I think I heard each and every one, because the bells explode in song every 15 minutes or so. Freres Jacques and Doe a Deer were my personal favourites.
Ah, the Belgian waffle.
The canals are filled with swans and various species of duck. I thought this was a sweet image of momma and baby.


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