Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Brugge Farewell & Arrival in Leuven, Sept 3, 2018, Ray M

Belfort bell tower overlooking Markt Square

Brugge Farewell & Arrival in Leuven

Outbound to Leuven & Kiel, Day 6 of 24, September 3, 2018
By:  Ray M

Our train to Leuven (and Liege, for some of us) was not until almost 1 PM so we had some time for last sightseeing in Brugge (or Bruges if you prefer the French spelling).  I chose to make one last visit to the Bellfort, the central bell tower over Markt Square.

The Bellfort has been a landmark of Brugge for centuries.  The bottom 1/3 of it was finished in 1280, or nearly 500 years before the US Declaration of Independence.  At 272 ft, it is shorter than it used to be – it had a peaked roof which got destroyed in 16th century.

There is a stairway but no elevator up to the viewing area. My guidebook says it has 365 steps (some say 366); I counted 371 steps from the ground level when I went up a few days ago.  It’s a narrow, spiraled stairway – the only one I’ve ever seen that starts up turning in one direction, then switching to the other direction.  The movie “Bruges” shows one of the bad guys going over the top rampart to his death, but you can’t actually get that high.  The viewing area is right at the Carillon level – right by the bells.

View of Markt Square from Belfort observation deck
Carillon - they are loud!

We boarded the train together, others joined in Brussels, some got off in Leuven and 4 of us got off in Liege – because we’re staying with hosts from the Limburg FF Club in Tongeren, to the West of Leuven.

We were met at the Liege train station by our Tongeren hosts Edith and Etienne.  It's going to be a good week!
Edith and Etienne, our hosts in Tongeren

PS – I received a tip on getting a full cup of coffee from the espresso machine at the Hans Memling Hotel: You push the Kaffe button, then when that’s done you push the Espresso button. It fills your cup right to the brim.  I'd tell you who told me this great tip, but Pete said he does not need the credit for this so I won’t.

In Friendship and Peace

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