NETHERLANDS AND BELGIUM 2006: Trip
we had decided to skip cycling through Belgium
we took the train to Vlissingen and
the ferry across to Breskens. The ferry
is right next to the train station and left a few minutes
after our train arrived. We followed the Lf1a
North Sea cycle route to Sluis. It
was a pleasant run, but for some reason the signposted
path is below the dyke. The path on top of the dyke
is far nicer and we cycled along it as far as we dared
without risking missing the turn off.
goes through Sluis and along the side
of the canal to Brugge. It was an overcast
day and there was a short period of rain.
It passed over after a few minutes, but we did put on
our waterproof coats for the first time. There was also
a fairly strong headwind directly against us and we
were tired when we arrived at Brugge.
The next day we strolled
around Brugge. It was a prosperous
town in the 16th century but fell on hard times partly
because the river silted up and partly because it upset
the wrong people politically and lost its trading privileges.
This put a halt to development and the original buildings
and cobbled streets remained intact. This has made it
something of a showpiece and the architecture is impressive
|The apartment was excellent,
a house just off the town center. It was an old
house, but renovated with flair spacious and
comfortably furnished. The bed was comfortable and it
was dark and quiet.
|Groenigenmuseum is well
worth the visit, although the gallery was being renovated
and most of the best works were not on display when we
were there. The notice that informed us of this said that
the works were 'decomposed' which amused Margaret greatly.
Our Lady's Church is also fascinating. Its main claim
to fame is a statue of Madonna and child by Michelangelo,
but the whole thing is great, not the most magnificent
cathedral that we visited, but the most impressive.
we found the town itself is depressingly commercial.
Despite it being away from the peak season the town
was crowded with tourists. There is an incredible number
of restaurants, chocolate shops, cafes and so on; all
catering to the tourist trade. Large numbers of fast-moving
vans and trucks rush through the narrow cobbled streets
replenishing their supplies, and there was a surprising
number of buses, often virtually empty. There weren't
many cyclists and there was little provision for them.
Matters were made worse during our trip because there
were numerous very active roadworks all over the city,
they appeared to be renewing all the underground cables.