November 1997 & October 2000
Picturesque Flemish town with an interesting history.
It is a popular tourist town and a thriving community.
A very enjoyable visit.
|We decided to find a hotel outside the city since we
arrived late in the day. We stopped at the Lodewijk de von Male.
What a find. This “mini-castle” is full of wonderful antiques everywhere.
Our suite has a sitting room overlooking the spacious grounds complete
with duck pond, shrubs, velvet lawn, flowers and statuary. The day
was cold and rainy, but the four radiators in our room had it nice and
We left the comfort of our cosy room and headed into Bruges to get the lay of the land. We went first to the Basilica of the Holy Blood, since it had been closed on my visit here in 1998. In the basilica is a sacred vial said to contain drops of Christ’s blood, brought to Bruges in 1149 from the Holy Land by a Flemish crusader. The relic made Bruges an important pilgrimage site, and in modern time the Procession of the Holy Blood takes place on Ascension Day. This is a theatrical costumed pageant depicting religious events. The relic is housed behind a magnificent gold and silver altar. The Holy Blood is contained within a crystal sheath with gold crown stoppers and supported by copped and silver angels. (Text continued below photos)
The next day was windy and cold. We had a late breakfast and took our time getting into town, so we missed the morning hours for visiting the Michelangelo at Our Lady Chapel. Visited the Groeningemuseum, formerly an Augustinian monastery, which houses 15th to 20th century Belgian and Dutch paintings. When the weather cleared somewhat, we strolled through town, by the canals and the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; stopped at an internet café and picked up and sent some emails. It was a little too chilly for our planned canal ride, so we headed back to Our Lady Church to visit the only Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime. It is housed in a somewhat austere Gothic church that pipes eerie music. But, the statue is well worth the visit, as nothing beats a Michelangelo!