We boarded a train from Brussels to Bruges on Monday morning (November 24).  Mondays are very bad days for sightseeing in most European countries because most museums and historical sites close.  So we decided to spend that Monday in the quiet town of Bruges, about an hour outside of Brussels.  The whole town is very medieval-feeling, but with some modern twists (like an expensive shopping district).  It was really nice to get out of the big city and go to a quieter, smaller town.  And since not much was open, we just spent our time wandering and enjoying the atmosphere of the city. We went to see the main square, with the famous bell tower (one of the focal points of the movie In Bruges) and a row of charming buildings, one of which we stopped in for some coffee.
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Nearby, there was one attraction still open- the church.  The Basilica of the Holy Blood houses a famous relic.  Visitors from all over the world come to touch a sacred vial that contains a piece of cloth with Jesus’s blood on it.

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The picture didn’t turn out very well since it’s very dim in the church, but that’s me up there with the priest, touching the vial.  It was an interesting experience, even though it’s not proven that it’s the blood of Christ on the cloth.

Our tourist map showed us a brewery in town that did daily tours, so we decided to go check that out, especially since Belgium is pretty well known for beer.  That was really fun, they took us through the whole process and ended the tour on top of the building where we got a great view of the whole town below.

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Bruges was a nice city to see and hang around in for a day.  The buildings were all in a beautiful medieval Gothic style, with picturesque canals winding through parts of the city.  And, of course, there was some great shopping!

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