Bruges Day 1

Up early for the train down to St. Pancras, where I bought a cheap copy of Nick Papadimitriou's 'Scarp' - always a bonus :)
On Eurostar to Brussels (very easy as always), and a quick turn round to buy some waffles before getting the IC train via Ghent to Bruges. I accidentally sat in first class for most of the journey before being kicked out. Sunny day with high clouds and beautifully warm.

Arrived in Bruges, and headed for the centre. The city was thronged with tens of thousands of people, as on Ascension Day, it was the day of the Procession of the Holy Blood.

I arrived as the procession was underway, and spent the next hour or so working my way round to my hotel, which was right in the middle of things it seemed. As it backed onto the canal, there was no way to get to it from the back, so had to dodge the procession a little to make it to the reception. Once I'd checked in, I found that my room opened onto the main street, and I was able to watch the last bit of the impressive procession from my room, with a coffee.

In the late afternoon, I took a first wander around the centre of the city, then it was out to the Maximillian restaurant by Begijnhof, where we had a meeting and an evening meal. Met up with friends from a number of EU countries who I've worked with on various EU projects, David Lambert and some American colleagues who I'd previously met at the Ga Conference. Was delighted to be presented by Dick Boehm with a medal from the Gilbert M. Grosvenor Centre for Geographic Education in Texas, for 'meritorious service in support of geographic education'.
A local beer, some fine red wine and wandered back to the hotel late along floodlit canals, and cobbled streets. Tomorrow, I have to do a little work....