The first inhabitant of Bruges was a bear
I’m taken on a guided bike tour of the city. In the Jan van Eyck square we’re told that the impressive looking Burgher’s Lodge of 14thC was the home of the White Bear Society, an elite group of the city’s wealthy and powerful who gathered there to drink and trade. A small statue of the Bear of the Loggia is high up on the wall and when I ask about the significance of the white bear, the story of a ferocious bear who terrorised the locals is told. That this snow covered bear reared up to go for a passing knight, 50 year old Count Baldwin passing by with his 19 year old bride Judith, and that Baldwin leapt to attack the bear with his lance and with one arm stabbed the bear right through his belly to the tree behind. This earned said knight the name Baldwin Iron Arm and that this adventure marked the beginning of the county of Flanders. The people were free from the bear and they had their leader.
Invading humans. Eurasian bears have been around for about 500,000 years and humans about 200,000. The humans here work so hard to preserve the evidence of their long Flanders existance. Right down to the super bumpy polished cobbled streets ( bad news for sonic bikes) that are everywhere. Never before has tarmac felt so smooth.