So, to the 'working holiday' part. I love the fact that this was actually a research/"business" trip when we spent the entirety of it looking at works in museums. (Yes, it is actually work - the way we do it! And often exhausting.) We covered most major museums in Brussels, Leuven, Ghent and Bruges in a matter of four days. Though it was a bit of a race to see everything, we got an in-depth look at some incredible works with our professor, and a talk from a conservator working on the Ghent Altarpiece restoration. I thought he somehow bore a remarkable resemblance to Tintin...and, you know, had super interesting things to say about the project. It's a great group of classmates - er, colleagues? - so we had fun together as well.
I'd love to go back and spend more time in f*#$ing Bruges. (Faint of heart, don't click.) My chief prior perception of it was from the movie, so the art historical perspective certainly fleshed it out for me. There's a lot more history than I was aware of - Bruges was once a thriving international city, not a quiet little town. We had limited time there, so there's plenty of churches and charm left to explore.
I wish I had more pictures to illustrate this post, but it was a working trip so nearly all of my pictures are details of early Netherlandish panel paintings. Eh? Any interest?