Visitors to Brugge are told that if they miss the canal ride they miss Brugge. After biking around for a couple of days, the canal ride was underwhelming. We had seen more pedalling around on our own two wheels.
Our 10- and 8-year-old daughters had loved the 14 mile loop through flat countryside out to Lissewege and then, the next day, they had a ball zooming around the square, t’Zand, with the other families on bikes. The sun broke through the clouds and we had blue sky again after a rainy morning. We saw a a beautiful little house on the canal, willows greening, a pink tree that turned out to be the wild red currant that grows along the basalt cliffs above the Columbia River at home.
But unlike home, Brugge is a city more friendly to bikes than to cars.
We discovered more than the sites listed in the guidebooks:
Including an old well where our Eldest imagined being sent out to fetch water each morning:
And the school our hosts’ son attended, a dead ringer in those pre-film days for Hogwarts, according to the same daughter:
We biked along the old walls, up and over the steep little bridges, got caught in the rain along the outer canal and watched the swans, biked up the canal past Poterei, a very beautiful park along the canal with great bike paths from Ezelpoort to Gentpoort, both medieval gates to the city, one opening on the road to Ghent, the other the “Donkey Gate.”
And were sad when we had to turn our bikes back in.