We decided to skip an optional tour and strike out on our own to see some things that were only mentioned in passing on our guided tour. We headed to the Market Square to visit the Church of Our Lady. It houses one of the only pieces by Michaelangelo that resides outside of Italy. In fact, the Italians tried to take it back but the city has a receipt in its archives showing it was purchased legally and was not the spoils of war. Photos inside the cathedrals are difficult because of the lighting.
Next we went to the Holy Blood Chapel where a cylinder supposedly contains the blood of Christ. You have to approach the altar where this man sits who never says a word or smiles, just bows his head indicating that you may touch the cylinder and take a picture. It was reverent and weird all at the same time.
Here are some random shots around the city.
This may have been the day we had "wurst mit senf" on the square for lunch. That's a hot dog with mustard! Then we took a brewery tour of the last working brewery within the city. I don't think they have OSHA because we climbed places and took stairs that were unbelievably difficult to maneuver but we made it. Grand Circle tells you that these cruises/tours require you to be physically capable of getting around ... and they mean it.
That evening we participated in a progressive dinner that started at the fountain in the square across from the hotel. We were met by a lady dressed in period costume who gave us all a drink of schnapps before setting out on foot. She explained the fountain sculpture in the square and told us some city history as we walked to a restaurant for dinner.
From there we walked to another square to have dessert in one of the outside restaurants. Unfortunately it was raining very hard when we got to this restaurant but we sat under the awning and heaters were on so it wasn't so bad. Everyone took the hot drink and not the wine though! We opted for a short taxi ride back to the hotel rather than walk back in the rain.
Restaurants are fairly expensive in Europe. The breakfast I saw advertised was 9 Euros, about $14. Lunches are 15-22 Euros or $20-$33 dollars. Dinners were in the 40 Euro range or $60. We had purchased 225 Euros at Wells Fargo before leaving. We bought another 50 in Brugge and another 150 in Germany. We bought very little along the way and for the most part our meals were covered. But you have to remember those half Euro potty breaks!