Quiet in Bruges

Tiny Medieval Building

In Bruges after dark, J and I decide to wander. I’m hesitant, of course, assuming that most places shouldn’t be wandered in the dark. Peering at a tiny map ripped out of a guidebook under a single spluttering street lamp, I say, “Listen, I know I’m breaking the first rule of travel safety here, but…”

Because I do know. Standing under a street lamp to look at a map? As a woman? Why not just shout in all directions that you’d like someone to please mug you?

And J looks around us, up the narrow lane of tiny medieval structures. Their stuccoed facades glow white in the otherwise penetrating dark. A footstep on cobblestone a half mile away echoes as though the foot, its bearer, steps close by.

“Laura, I don’t think there’s anyone to mug us here.”

We had been searching for a restaurant, a bar, anything. Lights in a window. But in this city ringed by canals, so quiet and wet in winter, the only things to scare us are the shadows.

Go there:

Bruges is in Belgium. It’s about an hour, by train, from Brussels.

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