We set off on a walking tour of this former capital of Flanders. Bruges dates from the 13th century and is a living museum with a treasure trove of fine architecture. From the 13th to the 15th centuries, Bruges was the most important trading center of northern Europe, based largely on its thriving wool and textile industries. You'll see signs of this mercantile history in the beautiful houses built by wealthy textile dealers.
Following the walking tour, most hoped on a boat to experience Bruges from a different perspective. A few of us saved our tickets to use the next day when hope the skies will be blue and the sun shining. Then a visit to a lace shop to see some of the world's finest lacemakers at work, completed the morning tour of the city.
Several of joined the optional excursion to Flanders Field to learn more about the World War I. Our first stop was Ypres now known as the “City of Peace,” where we visited the interactive Flanders Field Museum. Later we toured the battlefields and cemeteries. After dinner at a local restaurant, we visited the Menin Gate Memorial and listened to the buglers from the local fire brigade who play there every night in remembrance of those lost in the war. It was an informative excursion, and another sobering reminder of the horrors of war.
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