What did my main character see while traveling the canals of Brugge in the morning? I was able to take a canal ride to find out.
Now this person obviously wasn’t there, but I love the ancient steps leading down to the water.
Not sure about my main character seeing this view, but I thought it was so cute anyway!
What would have been like to climb the belfry of Bruges in the 16th century? Here is what I discovered (at least in the late morning. It would have been so much better at night for my story, but alas, the belfry is closed at night.)
First, here are paintings of what the belfry would have looked like in my time period (approx.)
I like how you can see the whole city in this one in the background.
This painting is a little more than a hundred years later, but I like how it reminds me of how the rural countryside surrounded Brugge outside of its moat and wall. It’s easy to forget that in modern times.
Upon first entering the belfry from the stairs leading up from the interior courtyard, I came upon the cloth halls.
This kind gentleman was getting ready to run a big race with a bunch of other athletes. He just started telling me the history of the cloth halls while he was warming up.
Now, it’s time to climb the tower!
Peeking through the keyholes of locked doors that were on various levels before reaching the top.
The stairs changed from stone to wood halfway up.
Reaching the bells on the top of the belfry.
A view of a bell above my head.
It was incredibly windy up there!
But what a view in the daytime.
Trying to write in the wind, about the wind.
Later in the afternoon, I was invited to the home of artist David De Graef once again to explore the upper bedchambers of his home and B & B, the Nuit-Blanche Guesthouse. I was given a tour by his ten-year-old daughter, Fleur.
Here is the outside of the house from the main street.
Fleur greeted me from an open window upon my arrival.
I loved these steps leading up to a tiny bedchamber that used to be her room when she was younger.
There were two windows in here, one on each side of the elongated room. It seemed like the perfect setting for my main character’s room when she comes home from the beguinage where she is schooled. I could completely imagine her looking outside late at night at the stars from these windows.
Here is the daytime view from one of the windows.
And here are some views into the medieval courtyard garden down below.
Here is the hearth of the tiny room.
This is where one would place a candle to see.
The second window
Downstairs to more bedchambers
I adore the wooden ceilings!
I wonder what this niche was for?
Lovely stained glass all around.
This is the door that opens outside to the Bonifacius Bridge. Fleur had a hard time with opening it. I think my main character would have, too. It was enormous!
Fleur was such a lovely hostess. Merci beaucoup!
Here is the door from the outside on the bridge.
Here is a view from the Bonifacius Bridge.
Here is a view of the bridge itself.
Here is the outside of one of the windows I looked through.
And now, on to the Stadhuis, or the City Hall!
Upstairs leading to the Gothic Chamber, where the leaders of Brugge would convene.
The massiveness of this table and this room made me feel very small and insignificant. I bet my main character would feel the same way (even though originally the room was split in two).
I love the look of these old documents, especially this one with the Brugge seal.
I can imagine my main character’s father’s documents looking like this one.
Trunks where charters and important documents of the city were placed. The locks were the largest I have ever seen!
This is the courthouse right next to the city hall. This is where a trial would be conducted, and there is a trial in my book!
The courthouse door leading to one’s fate.
Where one would stand when on trial.
After such a long day, my writing partner and fellow critique group member of Viva Scriva, Sabina Rascol, treated me to lamb Flemish stew and leek and vegetable soup inside of a former medieval tannery.
Here I could relax and contemplate all I had seen.
And enjoy the amazing view from our table.
Sabina has been such a help the past few days with her photographs, translations, map-reading skills, and company. Thank you for the wonderful meal, Sabina!
More to research and ponder tomorrow as I journey to Brussels, and soon to the Ommegang!