Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where was the border?

With promises of "a whiff of the countryside, passing windmills, and a historic church" from Rick Steves, we rented bicycles on our first morning to explore Damme, and the Flemish countryside. We rode along the Nepoleoncanal, built by Spanish POWs during Napoleon's occupation of Belgium.
The windmill welcomed us into Damme, Belgium.
A sculpture in the courtyard of the Our Lady of Damme Church by Charles Delporte, a local artist.
Me in the courtyard of the church.
A view of the streets of Damme.
Our original plan was just to visit Damme and then go back to Bruges, but with such beautiful weather we couldn't resist going on the Dutch town of Sluis. We passed the Belgium-Netherlands border at some point but there wasn't even a sign to announce the new country.
Matt climbing the Ramparts and City Gates.
Following in the footsteps of Napoleon, Matt has conquered the city.
The Sluis Molen, built in 1739, was the first windmill to be built of stone.
It was also our first windmill to explore. The inside of a windmill looks, not surprisingly, similar to the inside of a gris mill. However, the views out the windows and from the decks are much more spectacular.
The geese rule the roads here. And the canals. And the parks. And possibly the town.
Matt crossing the Napoleoncanal.
After our 40km bike ride, we stop back in Damme to grab a bite to eat. In true Belgium fashion, we dined on a ham, grease, and mustard sandwich, chocolate waffles, and Belgium beer - Pater Van Damme Blonde and Bruin.

The Damme molen in the sunlight.
What a wonderful ride in the Flemish countryside.

No comments: