Sunshine on a Rainy Day

Today was the first day of Airbourne, but we had a really bad storm.  So I painted some flowers.  Enjoy!

Buddleias - Watercolor on Bockingford Paper - A4
Buddleias – Watercolor on Bockingford Paper – A
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In (love with) Bruges!

I have been wanting to go to Bruges for a long time, and well before I saw the film, In Bruges, with Colin Farrell.

I finally went with my sweetheart for my birthday.  Well, we didn’t go for my birthday, but we went as a birthday treat before my birthday.  Hope that clears that up!  Anyway, we took the car on the Euroshuttle/Eurotunnel and drove to Bruges.  Bruges is only about an hour and a half from Calais.  It takes me about as long to get to Bruges as it does to drive up to Rugby to see my sweetie.  And Bruges is much, much prettier.

In fact, I loved Bruges so much, that I really didn’t want to leave and wondered if we should have booked for longer, but we had 3 whole days and 2 nights.  We got up at the crack of dawn to catch the Eurotunnel so we could make the most of our stay.   The weather Gods were also looking favourable upon us as we also had glorious weather.

I am not going to have any links here for Bruges.  You can Google it for yourself.   It might be a little bit touristy, but that is the way it is for many popular cities and towns these days.  However, it is a very beautiful and safe place to visit.  Our bed and breakfast was about a kilometer from the city centre.  It didn’t take long to walk anywhere.  In fact, the place is very flat.  It is very easy to walk around.  We tried to avoid the really touristy bits of town and explored the edge and more quiet areas.

The place is so beautiful, with really lovely architecture, that you could spend your whole time taking photos.  I limited myself.  That was a real challenge as around every corner there was something really quaint or pretty to photograph.  I have made some collages of the highlights.

Canals

One of the first things we did was take a canal trip.  It isn’t very expensive and is a great way to get a feel for the town and learn a bit of history.

Spires

The place is full of Spires.  There are churches all over the place.  However, it isn’t just the churches that have spires!  I love them, partly because there aren’t that many in the USA and I find them really quaint.

Chocolate

Bruges is a chocoholic’s paradise.  You can get chocolate in pretty much any shape or form.  I limited myself to some truffles. 🙂

Windmills

Bruges has some windmills, and one you can even go into!  Who would have thought!  We found a bar near one and admired it from afar while having a glass of beer and chatting to some locals.  There are  some really unusual sculptures and remnants of features, like this water mill.

Pretty Doors and Windows

There are lots of unusual, and pretty, doors and windows.  People are not afraid to paint their doors and windows in vibrant colours.

Bicycles

And last, but not least, there are the bicycles.  I have never seen so many people over the age of 50 on bicycles!  Bruges, and the area all around, is pretty flat.  There are cycle lanes going in both directions on the streets.  Many of the streets in Bruges central are one way.  Most of the cycle paths are protected with a barrier so the cars can’t knock them over.  What most people consider to be ‘girl’s’ bikes, the step-over style is used by men and women alike.  It is just easier to get on and off a bike without a crossbar.  Cycling keeps you moving and that is surely a good and healthy thing.  I like the idea of retiring to Belgium if it means that I can cycle everywhere!  We will definitely coming back to Bruges, but next time we will take our bikes and try to explore a bit further afield.

The beer and food is also very good.  We had to have the moules and frites!  There is only so much one can do when visiting a city for a couple of days.  We didn’t go into any museums or tourist attractions, the weather was too nice!  We just walked around the city and relaxed.  There was no hurry to do anything.  Isn’t that what a break is for?  We will just have to go back again!

 

 

A Walk around Warwick

Last weekend I was up in the Midlands and ended up in Warwick.  We (me and my sweetie) were going to go and visit the locks on the canal, but we never got there as Warwick is so pretty and we didn’t have time!  Something to look forward to!

What does Warwick have going for it?  Well it is one of the oldest towns in England and it is really beautiful.  (Please click on my links to learn more about this place as I am not a Historian)  It has some lovely architecture…

Here are a few examples of the Medieval architecture that has survived a major fire in 1694.  The buildings are pretty wonky and absolutely stunning in design.

We came across an amazing garden when we arrived.  It just goes to show you that it is worth going down the road less trodden to find The Mill Garden.

It was amazing value at £1.50!  The weather was overcast and the ground was very wet as we had just had some rain, but the views and garden were stunning.  The people who own it were lovely and really like sharing what they have helped to create and maintain over a few generations.

There is a wide variety of flowers and trees and many places to sit and enjoy the views.  There are so many plants.

To top it all off, one is overlooked by the Castle.

How amazing it is to have a garden overlooked by the Castle!  We didn’t go into the castle.  It was rather steep at over £21 per person.  However there are deals if you book in advance online.

Fortunately, although the day was grey, it stayed dry, so we were able to wander around the town and do a bit of window shopping.  This is one town that I will definitely be visiting again.  Maybe I will even make it to the canal!