Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Wastin’ away in Marieke-ville.
Sunday 26th August - Bruges

Bruges is a tourist town. The heart of the place seems to be bursting with groups of people listening earnestly to guides speaking in twelve languages while offering snippets of hitherto unheard historic secrets, and boats buzzing below every bridge with happy customers just as earnestly being oblivious to the history that they are passing.   

On the face of it escape seems impossible, but one only has to turn off any of the streets on the tourist path to find oneself in a delightfully quiet, ancient city, or if one chooses, perhaps one bubbling with activity of a different kind.   Today, right beside our mooring the twentieth annual “Marieke Fest”  brought us twelve hours of food, music and rollicking good times. 

Were I the skipper of a tourist boat passing by, I could have told my passengers that there are two hundred and eleven community festivals held annually in Bruges, and how not quite unconnectedly, Jacques Brel famously sang of his love for a local girl, Marieke, who lived “between the towers of Bruges and Ghent”.  In 1988, ten years after his death, a statue of her was erected just over there in the park, (under the mustard trees) celebrating the song,  I could have told them lots of stuff, but these are secrets not for tourists, they are for locals.  People just like us.

Besides,  tourist boats don't come this way.

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