What Pegman Saw: Johannes fuit hic*

Image: Google Street View

Johannes set the time and place for our meeting.

Fourth bench from the oldest stone crossing, when the 101 cast their bills to the west.

Typical Johannes.

My guidebook said the oldest stone crossing was the Meeburg. As for the 101 I hadn’t a clue … Then a flotilla of white darts scudded along the canal, their wake pointing to an egg yolk sky. I smiled – the 101 swans of Bruges, returning to their nests at sunset.

I walked Meestraat, remembering Mother’s words when I told her Johannes was an author and an oil painter.

‘Writers are liars and thieves. Artists are cowards.’

Not for the first time I wondered at her life before marrying my accountant father.

The bench was black with rain, golden with fallen leaves. Taped to the seat was a large cardboard sign.

New York calls me home. Enjoy the canals. J

I hate it when Mother’s right.


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we are in Bruges, Belgium.


*Being an art history graduate, the first thing that came to mind when I saw Pegman was in Bruges was the Flemish artist, Jan van Eyck (1390-1441) – also known as Johannes. Van Eyck is famous for many wonderful oil paintings, not least The Arnolfini Portrait. He has signed the portrait just above a representation of a mirror. It reads “Johannes de Eyck fuit hic 1434” – “Johannes van Eyck was here 1434”.

Visit here to learn the full story of the 101 swans of Bruges.

As far as I can make out, the Meebrug is the oldest stone bridge in Bruges. Other crossing places may be older, but the Meebrug is the oldest structure.