We arrived in Bruge by 10:00 am, dropped our cases at the left luggage in the station and then headed off around the town. Those of you know my mum will know that last year she had her knee replaced. She had the other one done the previous year. In fact, at Christmas, when dad and Karen were planning this escapade, mum was hobbling around in the kitchen on a crutch making the lunch. (We did offer to do it or her, but as yet pigs are not airbourne, so that wasn’t going to happen). Now that was less than 6 months ago. Mum is the sort of person who “doesn’t do Illness” (I think all those years as a pharmacist wore her out). So she has never let major surgery slow her down. However she may have met her match with the cobbles of Bruges.
Don’t get me wrong, Bruges is beautiful. If Walt Disney designed a “Europe Land” zone for Disney world (he may have done already) it would be based on Bruges. It’s a picture postcard, chocolate box, perfect representation of how a Hanseatic city should be. Dad has already asked me how we avoided bombing it during the war (a subject of previous blogs). I’m not sure if we did, but if we did, they have done a lovely restoration job on it. However the cobbles, beautiful though they may be, are a pain (literally) to walk on.
They are also quite misleading. Many of the roads are pedestrianised and quite often pavements and roads are made of the same material so you roam from one to the other. It’s only when a tour bus comes up behind you that you realise you have strayed into the middle of the road. The other problem is that they are uneven..amazingly uneven. I assume they don’t have “where there is blame there is a claim” here, because if they did, the country would be bankrupt.
We had booked an apartment via Air B’nB again and the owner Ronald had offered to pick us up from the station. We hobbled around the cobbles all morning, picked up our cases and were picked up by our host Ronald. He drove us around the cobbles until we arrived in a street which was like the Belgian equivalent of Coronation Street. Bizarrely enough we entered via the garage then went into the hall. I had forgotten that houses in these areas are tall and thin. Ronald and myself lugged the 2 larger cases up to the 1st floor (living and kitchen level). He then showed us around the 2nd floor (bedroom level) and the attic (3rd bedroom). I suddenly realised that I appeared to be on my own, The rest of the family seemed to have decided to stay on the first floor as I was given the tour.Saying that, I did notice that as I walked down the many flights of stairs a sort of squeaking noise. It was my knees; they were also suffering from the cobbles. Luckily mum had brought the Algesal cream so before going to bed we could all treat our aches and pains. What a family!