So, Belgium is incredible. I zeroed in on Ghent and Bruges; Brussels will have to wait for a return voyage. The crowds and the “living museum-ness” of Bruges are a reason I stayed in Ghent, so I could also experience a working city. Bruges is dismissed for being too “touristy” — man, that gets said with such a sneer — but there’s reason why people flock to it. It’s a city out of time. The guildhalls, the bellower, the canals… the preserved medieval (thankfully, it was spared in World War II)… no shortage of magnificent sights that let you feel like you’re walking in centuries-old footsteps.
Yeah, yeah — some of the buildings have been repurposed into gaudy chocolatiers or even an odd McDonald’s, but at least the architecture is saved whenever possible. My unending fascination with churches, relics, and religious art was well-sated, too. Between the alleged Holy Blood relic, Bosch, and the Jerusalem Church, I checked a few more boxes on my armchair Indiana Jones list and even more excited for an upcoming trip.