And so after a full day spent in our host-city of Leuven we arose early for Mass and breakfast and then traveled by train westward for an hour and a half to the city of Brugge - fast becoming a popular tourist spot because of its typical Belgium charm and beauty. Our day, like the others, was spent touring churches and sites, sampling beers, and just enjoying being out of Italy before the Spring semester would begin.
After walking up from the Brugge train station we arrived at the Holy Savior Cathedral - another architectural masterpiece.The pulpit was also impressive in its size and detail. The marble parchment shows the design of the church.
We then walked a few blocks to the main city square. The prominent tower was raised in popular awareness by the movie In Bruges.
The citizens of Brugge are very aware of their fine city's growing popularity with tourists. Supposedly the place is shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists during the summer months. And so it is understandable that locals would like to protect and safeguard their own hang-outs. We tracked down one such place and it is a gem of a find. Walking off the main square and down a very narrow alley one arrives upon a quaint pub. Inside is a fire and about 9 tables. That afternoon there was an older couple reading the paper with glasses of beer, a group of four and then a gentleman reading and also enjoying a brew. It was something out of a hobbit scene.We sat down and ordered their house brew called Garre. It is a triple-bock beer! And it was amazing. Overhead a portion of Handel's Messiah was playing. We ordered a second round and the music switched to Vivaldi. The only other complement would have been a nice pipe or cigar, but that didn't happen.
Afterward we walked to another large square to visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood where is said to be a relic of the Precious Blood of our Lord. We visited, prayed, and venerated the relic. There were a few too many references to leaving "donations" for the "upkeep of the church". I am sure that is the case, however, Luther didn't have to go South of the Alps to fuel his reform.
Another beautiful church is that of Our Lady where is housed a statue of Madonna and Child carved by Michelangelo himself.
It was a great day and after supper we walked back to the train station for a good night's rest, thankful for the artistic, ecclesial, and brewing treasures we were fortunate to have enjoyed.