Bruges is a reminder of what we have lost to war and other forms of carelessness. It is claimed, locally at least, that this city retains more of its medieval past than any other, discounting indoor plumbing, motor cars, widespread use of electricity, a literate public, and a common currency.

Bruges was spared the ravages of time by the one virtue most feared by celebrities and politicians of today—insignificance. Ironically, its unique status as having been untouched by the torch or bombs has left it to a more hideous fate—tourism.

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