Yesterday was the most memorable day of my life. I took the train to Brugges (AKA Bruges), a city in Belgium about an hour away by train. And while I was there, I went to the Basilica of the Holy Blood. “Since 1149, the Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges has housed a fragment of cloth stained with what is said to be the coagulated blood of Christ, wiped from his body by Joseph of Arimathea after his crucifixion” (visit-bruges.be). The cloth is kept in a jewel-embedded capsule-like case that hasn’t been opened since its arrival in Brugges.
I was amazed with the lack of security at the basilica. The only security it had was the priest who was gently holding it as you said your prayer, and then wiped it off after each person touched it. The Mona Lisa has more security! And what’s even more impressive, it has been around for almost 900 years and nobody has tried to steal it! I think that’s great.
I also visited “de markt” (the market) in Brugges. It is very similar to the famous Grand Place in Brussels. It’s just a large open area surrounded by amazing, beautiful, old buildings. Hundreds of years ago, this was the town’s market. Today, it is filled with tourists, restaurants, souvenir shops, lace shops, horses and carriages, and marching bands. I loved it!
Because Brussels is the capital of Belgium, and is known as the capital of Europe, it has become much more modernized that Brugges. Of course, there are still many castles, old chapels, and old statues in Brussels. But, it is still also very modernized. Brugges, however, has larger areas that still seem very old. There are many streets that are lined with modern stores, but there are also many streets just lined with very quaint houses. And all of the streets are still cobllestone.
So, Brugges was a success!
Also, on October 30th, I got to go to a Halloween party! Before I came to Belgium, I was worried that nobody would even know what Halloween is because it’s an American holiday. But because America influences so much of the world, everyone knows what it is! (The party was partly hosted by an American, though, but I still know that it is a known holiday here because stores were decorated, etc.) So, that was fun. They also celebrate All Saints’ Day here, on November 1st, so I got the day off from my internship. And another holiday is right around the corner! This Thursday is Armistice, the day that World War I ended. So, I have the day off from my internship again. And I am going to Paris that day! Then, that weekend I plan to go to two of the following: Ghent, Antwerp, Luxembourg, or Normandy. I am thinking Luxembourg and Normandy.
Well, talk to you guys later!
P.S. I will have many pictures of all of this in my presentation, so please come!