Spym and I were up relatively early and decided to have a walk by the canal after breakfast, there was an antique market on so we stopped and had a look. I bought a gorgeous painting of the Beguine Convent. By this point, Elizabeth and the others had all arrived at the hotel, Freeman had gone off to book our brewery tour for later that evening.
We went out for lunch in a small square and everyone introduced themselves. After lunch the others checked into the hotel and everyone roamed about doing their own thing prior to meeting up before the brewery tour. I decided to visit the St John’s Hospital. The hospital has been recorded in documents dating back to the 12th C. and was actually used right up until the 1970’s! It was originally run by nuns and priests. There was a really good audioguide that took me through the history of the hospital, including explanations of hospital art and surgeons tools :o. Inside the hospital chapel were six works by Memling. The hospital itself is a sprawling complex with multiple wings added throughout its history. After much ineptness on my part in not being able to open an unlocked door, i eventually made it into the old apothecary. All i can say is it smelt bad! It still has all the containers and even some of the dried herbs and animal pieces (!) used in medicine. There were also some huge mortar and pestles!
Later i met up with everyone else, and we did a guided tour of the Half Moon Brewery. I got some very amusing shots of everyone’s arse as they climbed down the steep staircases. Also managed to get a shot of Freeman trying to steal a barrel! We ended the tour with a nice chilled half of beer from the brewery before all heading back to freshen up before dinner.
Someone had the sense to book our table in advance (well done!). Prior to making it to the restaurant, the cash machine ate Philipa’s card – i hope she got it back! The restaurant was lovely with very tasty food. As the beer the night before had made me a little ill, i stuck to cognac – OMG i love continental measures…. Each “single” for 4-5 euros was the equivalent of 4 shots in the UK!!!! We moved to two other bars throughout the course of the night and ended up getting drunk in a small bar near the funfair. Elizabeth’s friend Natasha ending up dancing on the bar (!) and we stayed out till 4am! Lets just say i wasn’t feeling too good the next morning…