• Cindy Zampa

Week 49: Beautiful Bruges Portals

I hope I don't sound too simplistic in revealing my top three reasons for visiting Bruges. I've always wanted to taste, while IN Belgium, authentic Belgian waffles, chocolate, and beer - though not necessarily in that order. I quickly learned that I had to add yet another taste-sensation to my list; fries. Did you know that the French did NOT invent fries? They were invented here, in Belgium! And that, instead of ketchup, the favoured dip for these delicious morsels of potato is mayonnaise? Yum! Yep, they're quite obsessed with all things potato here, even dedicating an entire museum to the history and making of potato fries. (Check it out - it's called the Frietmuseum)

After completing these culinary conquests, and feeling very satisfied, we took a leisurely stroll through the city. Several times, we became completely disoriented in the maze of cobbled nooks and crannies. (Truly, it was not due to the beer, rather, the twisted minds of medieval street planners deserve the blame!) But truthfully, getting lost didn't matter much. This city is eye-poppingly, jaw-droppingly, head-spinningly gorgeous! Everywhere. You. Look.

The entire historic core of Bruges, in fact, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is an idyllic, tranquil vibe here, despite the crowds of tourists everywhere. It is obvious why it has been dubbed the 'Venice of the North', with its many miles of meandering canals. And, if you don't want to travel by boat, there are over 80 bridges spanning the canals, allowing you to get lost in any part of the city you'd like to explore.

I started painting a different bridge than the one you see here, one called 'Canada Bridge'. It was erected to thank Canadian troops for their part in liberating this region during World War 2. The 12th Manitoba Dragoons, who crossed the bridge on September 12, 1944, have the provincial emblem, a bison, on their logo. Two charging bison adorn either side of the Canada Bridge, to memorialize this event. Unfortunately, my reference picture was not very helpful, as it was snapped quickly from the window of our moving car. So, I had to resort to scouring through hundreds of other worthy images captured on our visit to Bruges. I hope the beauty of Bruges shines through in this depiction of one of the many portals here.

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