Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ghent & more of Bruges

The weather so far on my trip has been wonderful, sunny or a little cloudy and in the 70s, so to have bad weather for just one day out of the week was okay with me. It got a little cold today, in the 40s and rained all day, but I still managed to see a few sights. I took a day trip out to Ghent, which is about a 30 minute train from Bruges. When I arrived in Bruges, I was a unclear as to how to find the correct tram, but luckily, the first tram driver I found was very helpful and even got out of the driver's seat to show me which zones to buy the ticket for in the ticket machine. My intent in Ghent was to find St. Bavo's Catherdal, home to Jan van Eyck's famous Ghent Altarpiece or The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, it holds several names. Unfortunately though, I had a bit of a trip oversight and arrived to the church only to find that the entire altarpiece was undergoing restoration! They had a life size copy so I did take a look at this with the audio guide tour, but I was still very disappointed not to have seen the real thing. Oh well, looks like another trip to Belgium will need to happen soon! While in Ghent, I also visited the nearby St. Nicholas Church, which in some parts dates to the 1200s, with continued additions made in later centuries. This church was beautiful and even though it was cloudy was extremely light on the interior. I also walked into the Bell tower and through a little bit of the town. Ghent is full of shops and many people were out and about despite the rain. I then walked to the other train station, opposite of the one I arrived from and headed back to Bruges. I would definitely consider staying in Ghent on a different trip. Once back in Bruges, I visited the Gruuthuse museum, which is an old preserved city palace. The museum has many interesting objects from religious works to lace works to kitchenware and weapons, all from life between the 15th and the 19th centuries. There are also various old and luxurious tapestries on display. After spending some time at this museum, I decided to walk around a little more of the city and take pictures of the old buildings and canals. I came across a Miro exposition advertisement and followed the signs through a courtyard until I found where it was. It was an exhibit of many of Miro's lithographs and even had editions of the same ones owned by the Wake Forest Print Collection! So all in all, I had a hodge-podge museum and art day, but very much enjoyed my last day in the wonderful city of Bruges. Tomorrow is my last full day in Belgium and I am heading to Brussels!