Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bruges, Brussels, and back to Bruges

Brugge market square
Buildings along market square in Brugge

We’ve been very busy the past two days. Yesterday we went to Bruges on the bus and did the first part of a walking tour. When we got there, we bought a pass to five museums. It only took one to discover that we weren’t going to be able to do all five in one day. The pass doesn’t let us skip ahead in line, and the lines are long for the most popular places. It’s summer and Bruges is a famous medieval city. So we’re going back tomorrow. This time we’re taking the train. Our bus ride took more than an hour, and it was interesting to go through the little towns along the way, but the train only takes 13 minutes, and we’ve already seen those little towns.

Today we went to Brussels. In 2004 when we visited there with Jeffrey and Karan, we really liked the fine arts museum, especially the modern art part, and wanted to return. We found an excursion through the Belgian railway for round-trip train fare plus the Royal Museum of Fine Art and the Musical Instrument Museum for €20 each. Since normal round-trip train fare mid-week is almost €30, it was a good deal.

We bought a five-day pass for Flemish buses and trams before we went to Bruges, so we’re going to do more exploring around here over the weekend. There’s a world music festival going on in a neighboring town on Saturday, so we’ll go see what that’s about, and there’s also a modern art museum right here in Ostend that we haven’t seen.

A note about spelling: Everything here has at least two spellings (Dutch and French), and most have three (something different for English). For example, the English spelling where we are is Ostend, Dutch is Oostende, and French is Ostende. Then there’s Brussels/Brussel/Bruxelles (English/Dutch/French). So if it looks like I’m misspelling something, maybe I’m just being multilingual.

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