The Flemish Countryside, Belgium
Zeebrugge, Damme. Bruges & Loppen, Belgium
Thursday, June 9th was the last day of the 2nd of 4 cruises. We docked in Zeebrugge, Belgium. We didn’t spend any time in Zeebrugge, but did get a few photos from the ship. After relaxing on the ship in the morning went on a 4 hour excursion “Flemish Countryside” that took us through the countryside and stopping at Damme, Bruges and Loppen, Belgium.
Our first stop was in Damme, Belgium, a cute town where we were able to get off the bus for about an hour. We started out at Market Square, the site of the charming town hall. Originally constructed in 1241 the building boasts a tower with 25 bells and a time piece from 1459 believed to be Belgiums oldest. We also saw Our Ladies Church built in 1225 which is one of Dammes most renowned monuments.
We stopped at an outdoor cafe, where John ordered a local beer and I had a coke (yup with lemon slice). During this time the bells in the tower rang.
We next stopped in Bruges, Belgium at the Roose’s Chocolate World and got a taste of some locally made chocolate. Although we drove through Bruges and stopped at the Chocolate World, we didn’t see too much of the town.
Our final stop was at the Loppen Castle in Loppen, Belgium. We had about an hour to walk around the grounds and visit the castle. Loppen Castle interior has retained its original state. It was built about 1856. It later came to play a prominent role in the political history of Belgium at the end of WWI. It had beautiful walkways and bridges on the grounds and even a shrubbery maze.
Belgium has strict rules to protect the environment. Farms cannot be purchased unless buyers plan to retain the property as farms. There are many canals. It’s an interesting and beautiful country.
The weather was interesting, it wasn’t really that cold, so we were able to walk around without our jackets, but when sitting down for our drinks the wind was a little bit cool, so we had to put on our jackets.