After our stay in Maastricht, and our visits to the neighboring Belgian towns of Rekem and Beek, we headed west to Bruges. No genealogical work there; we went merely to see the city, the so-called “Venice of the North.”
Bruges was pretty. It rained. Our hotel smelled like sewage, as so many places do when they are situated on or near canals. We had an excellent “beer dinner” — perhaps our best meal while abroad — with each course prepared with beer and served with the beer used in its preparation.
All in all, though, Bruges was disappointing. So much of its charm comes from changes made by British expats who discovered it in the late 18th and early 19th century, and stayed on to make the town even more of a story-book village than it had been. The whole place had a slightly Disney-like quality for me.
Next, to Brussels.