We wanted to make a side trip after completing the bike portion of the tour, so we took the advise of several friends and took the train to Bruges, Belgium on Saturday.

Our hosts for this portion of the trip were Benno and Frieda.  Their bed and breakfast "Absoluut Verhulst" b&boutside.jpg (36758 bytes) was a welcome change from the cramped cabin aboard the boat. room1.jpg (86478 bytes)  room2.jpg (87988 bytes)  On Easter Sunday, their daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter came over for dinner, and we got a chance to visit for a bit... granddaughter2.jpg (97246 bytes) granddaughter1.jpg (83460 bytes)

Chocolate and Beer 

The Belgians are famous for both their chocolate and beer.  We thoroughly enjoyed both...chocshop.jpg (160903 bytes)  localbeer.jpg (132222 bytes)

Bruges is a beautiful small city.  Everywhere you turn there's another interesting vista or detail...

building.jpg (161387 bytes) carving.jpg (59450 bytes)  crucifixdetail.jpg (103557 bytes) church1.jpg (99001 bytes)  jcarch.jpg (175349 bytes)

Or dog to meet...   jcdog2.jpg (117763 bytes) 

Like Holland, it has it's share of windmills bwindmill2.jpg (83173 bytes) and canals canal1.jpg (143530 bytes) stevecanal.jpg (99344 bytes) canal2.jpg (153650 bytes) and boat tours and horse-drawn carriage rides carriage.jpg (146667 bytes) are available. 

Bruges does seem to have some of the neatest statue.jpg (96029 bytes) and oddest statues around... birdheadstatue.jpg (119444 bytes)  watertits.jpg (140326 bytes)  statues.jpg (96791 bytes) 

Talk about your weird coincidences, or, 6 degrees of Bruges...

At breakfast, we visit with the other couple staying at our B&B.  Mitch and Julie are a very nice couple from New Jersey.  As we chatted, we discovered some interesting connections: three of us had lived in Houston at the same time; Mitch and Julie lived within a couple of miles of some of the people we met on the bike tour (in fact, Bruce may be their town councilman); and, that Julie's mother Sharon had been one of Steve's contacts when his company set up a hyperbaric unit at Sharon's hospital in Peoria, Il.

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