Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A day in Bruges

On Thursday, we celebrated Belgian Independence Day by hopping on a train out to the lovely medieval town of Bruges.  We rented bikes for the day and spent much of the afternoon pedaling around the little town checking out the sites.

Despite the drizzly day, we still had a great time!

Doling out the bikes

The crew takes to the cobblestone streets!

Ready to roll
 To kick off the afternoon, a number of our group took a tour of De Halve Maan, of one of the oldest breweries in the area.

De Halve Maan

In the tasting room before our tour

Up into the brewing area
 It was interesting to compare and contrast the economics of the production and marketing processes for the De Halve Maan and the Hook Norton Brewery, which we had visited earlier in the summer.

Learning about the materials used in Belgium

The view from the top of the brewery building

Despite the clouds, it's hard to deny the beauty of this city!

After the tour students headed off for free time in the city.  But given the small size of Bruges, we often bumped into each other throughout the day.  A number of us visited the Chocolate Museum (Choco-Story), where we learned about the history and making of chocolate.  (A highlight was definitely the demonstration and tasting...)

The Choco-Story Museum

Program assistant (and photographer/blogger), Kip, at the enormous chocolate egg

Fay and Kip as cocoa beans!
Even with the cool weather, Bruges was a delightful place to spend a day.  A number of us had the chance to see the city by canal, which demonstrated why Bruges is often referred to as the Venice of the North.

Flowers along the canal

Scott and Amit taking in the sites

One of the many impressive towers in Bruges
A number of the students climbed the tallest tower in Bruges, the Belfry Tower (366 steps!) which provided excellent views of the city and the surrounding countryside (if any of you have pictures, send them my way!).

A few brave students attempted to get all they could out of their bikes and take a trip to the North Sea.  Unfortunately, it was a little farther than they expected, but they did get to see the iconic Bruge windmills.

Just one more day together in Brussels before we all head off on Independent Study and Travel Week!

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