Our first stop (well after a chocolate store) was Church of Our Lady. Even the boys were impressed with the size and beauty of this church. We finished inside by viewing the Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo. This statue was looted by the Nazis in World War II and was rescues by the Americans and returned after the war. This artwork was featured in the recent film, “The Monuments Men.”
We enjoyed walking around and exploring the Markt Square, the heart of Bruges. We had lunch here and then the group climbed to the top of the 272-foot bell tower by climbing the 366 steep steps to get a tremendous view of the city.
We finished our day in Bruges by taking a guided city tour by boat along some of the canals. It was nice change of pace from all the walking we’ve done these first days.
Dinner was late and ended up being quite memorable. It was an Italian restaurant called Mamma Mia’s and the menu had no English translations and the waiter spoke very little English. This was one of the very few times I’ve had this happen in the past four trips. It was a hoot to watch the waiter and the boys and leaders interact to figure out what we wanted. It worked out perfectly and we loved it. And it was also an evening to celebrate Brooks O’Hanlan’s birthday. After explaining to the waiter that I needed to order a dessert for the birthday boy, I finally ended up having to sing the Happy Birthday (in English of course), to be understood. Then ten minutes later as dinner was ending all the lights in the entire restaurant went out and out came the dessert complete with candles and the waiter and cook singing. Within seconds all our boys and a few innocent bystanders were joining in.
It was a fun day.