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Bruges the Beautiful

The Sunday after Christmas Bruges was ablaze with tourists.  After 45 minutes searching the city for a parking spot, Filippo finally settled on a nice piece of sidewalk under a bridge. Crossing ourselves, as if God would spare us from an illegal parking ticket, we set off to explore charming Bruges.

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I frustrated myself greatly trying to capture the perfect images of what my eyes were seeing.  Bruges was so freaking cute, my heart would race just turning a corner into a new scene of Belgian beauty.

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We spent the day weaving in and out of the masses, and for our patience, earning much-welcomed whiffs from the chocolate shops we passed.

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The stone bridges of Bruges begged us over them, over and over again as we traced the quaint canals that oozed buckets of charm.

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We toured both dazzling and dilapidated churches and in pious practice, Filippo lit a candle in each.  As I watched the ruby red light quietly cast its glow, I reflected on my gratitude for a belief greater than ourselves that binds us.

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And in Grote Markt, drenched in the multitudes of travelers, Filippo and I found the stillness I need in travel.  In the center of the square, next to a small construction site where no one else cared to stand, the buzz of the city seemed to slow down and I could savor my first glühwein. Hints of sunlight toasted our chilled bones and the mulled wine warmed our blood.

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When night knocked, a new, inspiring light arrived to Bruges.  Golden buildings mirrored on the still canals, Christmas lights a plenty, and little streets glowing like a Van Gogh night scene.  We bid farewell to Bruges, Filippo’s hand in my left-hand, a bag of chocolate in the right.  Such a sweet parting gift from a city I long to see in another season.

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