Brugge, Belgium

This was our first official weekend trip with the dogs. We found a hotel right on the Market Square that would allow pets. This turned out to be a great experience for the dogs but we probably could have picked a better city to take the dogs to for their first trip. Brugge is a great place to visit, it just doesn't have a good place for dogs to "do their business" in the city center. During the day walking around wasn't a problem, it was the late night/early morning business that was a bit difficult. We spent at least 30 minutes our first night there trying to find a suitable place for the dogs before we went to bed. Regular dirt would not do. We had to find bushes. Once the bushes were found, all was well. I think in those circumstances, Shep would make a good sled dog.

We would highly recommend a trip to Brugge. It has medieval architecture similar to Prague, is much smaller, more quaint, and has some fantastic beer. Formed between the 7th and 9th centuries, Brugge was an important trade center and seat of the counts of Flanders. In the 16th century, the Zwin River became clogged with silt, killing the trade prospects for Brugge. The rapid decline in trade is what has kept many of the old structures in such pristine condition. A walk up the steps of the old Belfry offers views across the English channel on clear days as well as views of Market and Burg Squares. Brugge also holds the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Michelangelo, 'Madonna and Child' in the Church of Our Lady. The Holy Blood was brought back from Jerusalem by Derrik of Alsace after the Second Crusade in 1150. Brugge has more than enough sights for a fun weekend. Watch out for the beer! The local brew is 14% alcohol! Most taverns have signs limiting customers to three per sitting.

A view of Market Square from the Belfry (our hotel is in the middle of the gabled buildings):

Gabi, Lady and Shep in front of a statue on Market Square:

Market Square Belfry (right) and provinicial palace (left):

Organ master on top of the Belfry:

View of Burg Square from the top of the Belfry:

Bascilica of the Holy Blood on Burg Square:

The Rozenhoedkaai, a source of artistic inspiration:

Inside the Het Begijnhof:

Michelangelo's, Madonna and Child:

Mike, Lady and Shep with our Horse and Buggy:

Gabi and Lady during the two's wild ride:

Mike and Shep during a brief pause in the ride:

Gabi, Lady and Shep along the banks of the Zwin:

Mike, Lady and Shep in front of one of the four windmills along the Zwin:

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