Ah, Bruge. Bruges? Brugge? Depends on what language you're spelling in.
They call it the Venice of the North, naturally, though it reminds me much more of that other northern Venice, Amsterdam. For the architecture, and the voices all around, and the pride in local beer. So far I like it better than either of the others. It's perhaps less colorful, but I'm interested in the calm here today. No crowds, nothing loud going on. A weekend of relaxation ahead.
Bruges is much more spacious. The canals and the sidewalks are wider than in Venice, and the buildings not as tall as in Amsterdam, giving the city a more open, comfortable, feel. Venice is so crowded. You keep your elbows close there.
What's a little surprising is there are so few boats on the canals. In the city, I saw only the tourboats, and a single canal with just a dozen houseboats and hobby fishing rigs. One houseboat appeared to be from Newark, New Jersey, with a man sipping a glass of white wine up top while a woman set the table with white linens below. They had stained glass fitted in the aft windows. That could be a nice retirement, touring the Venices of the world in your own boat. I wonder how they get from one to the other.
Tomorrow I'll get up early to go out photographing in the morning light. Lots of photos, I promise.