North East Bruges

Our next walk took us away from the centre to the quieter north-east. There were a couple of museums en route which we knew would be closed, because it was a Monday, but the numerous churches made up for it – even though some of them were closed for renovation, there was still plenty to see. We started at Rozenhoedkaai (Rosary Quay) where there were good views of the Belfry and OLV which we had visited the day before. Continuing along the canal, we were charmed by the dog looking out of the window. When we watched the film In Bruges a few weeks later we were amazed to see the same dog. I’ve since seen him or her on other blogs – just Google “Bruges dog” and loads of images come up! (I’ve since discovered his name is Fidel.) More or less opposite was another lovely row of almshouses, Godshuis de Pelikaan.

Our next stop was Jeruzalemkerk, so-called because it was founded around 1427 by the Adornes brothers, descendants of a 13th century Genoese merchant who had settled in Bruges after taking part in the Crusades. It has three chapels, two downstairs and one upstairs, and also appeared in In Bruges – however, it was masquerading as the Holy Blood Basilica. The black marble tomb is for Anselm Adornes and his wife, Margarethe. King James III of Scotland asked Anselm to look after the interests of Scottish wool traders in Flanders. However, on a visit to Scotland in 1483 he was murdered and buried in Linlithgow Palace. Only his heart was returned to Bruges. Oops. We didn’t linger.

A short walk took us to Kruispoort, one of the ancient gateways of Bruges, and several windmills, some of which are operational in the summer. It was also getting towards lunchtime and we enjoyed sitting outside at De Windmolen. Wow, we were lucky with the weather! This was still March.

The last part of our walk took us past the English Convent and back towards the centre, via two churches: Sint Gilliskerk and Sint Walburgakerk. I wasn’t too keen on the meaty artwork on display in the former.

What else does Bruges have in store? Quite a lot, as you’ll see!

Z is for Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is a small village just outside Amsterdam. It’s a living and working community, but also a heritage site with multiple windmills, some working, and small topical museums such as the Clock Museum and the first Albert Heijn store which started in 1887 and is now a major supermarket chain. Not everything was here originally – many of the buildings were moved from elsewhere – but it does give you a picture of what life must have been like in the past. I was interested to find out the different functions of windmills – sawmills, dye mills and oil mills – as I had just imagined they were all for grain.

And that’s it! The A to Z Challenge accomplished. Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my posts. It’s been great fun.

A few days in Fife

Looking for a break between Christmas and New Year, we found a good bargain at the Inn at Lathones near St Andrews. The plan, if the weather was good, was to do some small sections of the long-distance Fife Coastal Path. The first day, we were really lucky. It was bitterly cold and windy to start with, but pleasant once the wind dropped. We set off from Elie to do the section up to St Monans, where we had lunch in the lovely Mayview Hotel. We did think of walking further and getting a bus back to the car, but having done no research on this we decided not to risk it and walked back the way we came. It’s a very good section of the path with a windmill and several ruined castles and towers and it seemed even more beautiful on the way back in the late afternoon light.

Elie from the harbour:


Lighthouse at Ruby Bay where we parked:


Lady’s Tower:


Ardross Castle:


Newark Castle and tower:


St Monans:




The windmill was part of the salt industry at one time; in the late eighteenth century it pumped water into the salt pans and you can still see traces of the panhouses – mostly just green mounds, but this one is clearer:



Some of the atmospheric pictures from the way back:




Our plans for the second day were to do a short section of the path near St Andrews, have lunch there and then drive further round the coast to do a bit more. However, while we were having lunch, the rain and sleet started and we abandoned that idea. We did get some walking in the morning though, starting from East Sands:


After lunch and a bit of shopping, we headed back to the log fire in the hotel bar. This had two advantages: it was warm and it had wifi so that I could write this post. The same was not necessarily true of the rest of the hotel! The bedroom was quite cold until the evening when the heating cranked up, and the wifi wasn’t strong enough to allow us to connect there. However, the food was very good, the staff were great and the place was otherwise comfortable. It’s an old coaching inn, but the bedrooms are all comparatively modern as they have been constructed from outbuildings such as the Smithy and the Old Forge. It’s also a local music venue and seems to have had some good gigs. Last time we visited it was summertime and I think if I was coming again I would wait for better weather – mind you, that’s probably true of most places in this country!

Inn at Lathones