20210630 By Vasanthi Arasoo
Bruges is a quaint town teeming with life yet protected by a magical feeling of being alone in a mystical world. The small paths, cobblestone roads, huge trees and lively rivers are all part of this lovely place. Architectural designs and squares all bring back memories of the olden world.
Liveliness is seen in Dr. Beena’s painting where people are walking, talking, cycling and enjoying the good outdoors. Even the dogs and birds are at ease with human company. There is no onset of any life threatening virus to keep people indoors or behind masks in her painting. Everyone is so carefree and going about their usual activities with no fear. Old houses with chimneys surround the square to permit these gatherings whether enjoyed in solidarity thought or with others.
I remember walking along the garden paths in the outskirts in the company of breathtaking nature a few years ago. The huge trees that line the paths seem to have a part of history embedded in them. The geese and ducks swim in flocks in the pristine river waters as they cackle and quack in harmony. The houses are slightly hidden in the midst of so much beauty and greenery. The gentle breeze and lasting scent gives this town an exotic atmosphere of a peaceful place.
After a final turn at the end of the green paths, the cobblestone town comes into view. Rows of little shops appear on both sides of the road. Food unique to Bruges seem to be a pulling factor other than attractive, intricately embroidered laces that reminds one of being in a fairy land. Everything delectable and beautiful in a mystical town. Being caught up in its charm, the occasional horse carriage brings back a feeling of being in the past. The sound of their hooves on the cobblestones attracts attention especially to tourists who are only accustomed to motor vehicle noises. Amidst all these splendour and enchantment, in one corner lies the Basilica of the Holy Blood. A quick visit was a transformation from the crowded square filled by hundreds of curious tourists into a silent world of worshippers. It was like a journey from the crowded company of strangers into a different world of solidarity of thoughts where not even a single whisper is allowed. We waited in turn to get a glimpse of the relic of the Holy Blood preserved in a 11th or 12th century phial. What followed was a silent prayer in a holy basilica and back to a bright, cheerful and boisterous world outside. The lively square illuminated dynamic animated energy. A contrast to the spiritual energy felt earlier.
In the square surrounded by shops, it was time to indulge in the famous Belgian waffle topped with delicious fruits, ice cream, chocolate and whipped cream The crunchy waffles will just melt in the mouth as the body soaks in the evening sun and gets ready to watch the street performers in the square. Excitement fills the air. In addition, the numerous chocolate shops with a mouth-watering array of chocolates is worth a visit too. The awesome sweetness of the food, place and atmosphere will certainly be etched in your memory forever.
Bruges is undoubtedly a town where you can be alone with yourself in a magical world while surrounded by numerous activities and people. The wonderful memories makes one realise that to be one with nature, all it takes is for the mind to admire and explore the enchantment of a beautiful place.