Belgium, on the Water
What struck me most was the way the sunlight danced across the water. It had been raining in Paris, and the rain had followed me as the train sped past windmills and back-roads lined with poplars decked in autumn finery. Old stone farmhouses sat in tilled fields of soft green.
Yet when I reached Bruges, in Belgium, the sun broke through the grey clouds. It seemed that everyone had emerged into the sunshine to promenade through this medieval city, or else pass by in horse and carriage.
Her meandering canals remain the heart of Bruges. I pushed open my hotel window and sat on the ledge a few feet above the water. As if on cue a barge chugged past. Across the way the branches of an ancient willow gently stroked the water. A small stone bridge arched over the canal; medieval buildings with their Flemish roofs zigzagged against the sky. Some swans glided up to my window. Dressed by the fallen leaves of autumn, the water sparkled in the sun.
I raised my glass and a boatload of tourists waved back. Ah, Bruges – a town where past and present merge seamlessly.
Written by Anne Harrison
Anne Harrison lives with her husband, two children and numerous pets on the Central Coast, NSW. Her jobs include wife, mother, doctor, farmer and local witch doctor "“ covering anything from delivering alpacas to treating kids who have fallen head first into the washing machine. Her fiction has been published in Australian literary magazines, and has been placed in various regional literary competitions. Her non-fiction has been published in medical and travel journals. Her ambition is to be 80 and happy.
Bruges is so stunning and so often overlooked for the European mega cities. A friend and I went to Belguim on a whim one summer for a long weekend and ended up in Bruges and Ghent. Loved them both, stunning places.
I fell in love with Belgium 20 years ago, and Bruges was right out of a fairy tale.