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Published: July 15th 2018
InterCity train, Thalys between Amsterdam and Brussels
On 21 June we got up and had breakfast very early in the morning, and left for the station. Mark had purchased the tickets for InterCity Rail for us to travel at the specific time. Amsterdam Centraal station is one of the major stations in Europe. Eurostar is scheduled to arrive at Amsterdam Centraal Station in 2019 and we could see the construction of the new terminal from the platform where we were waiting for the train for Brussels. The InterCity train, ‘Thalys’ looked very impressive and it offered us a comfortable ride between Amsterdam and Bruxelles-Midi. Upon arrival at Bruxelles-Midi, we realized that the language had been changed. Mark asked the station staff which platform he should go to catch the train for Bruges; the station staff replied in French. The train for Bruges departed a bit late, but the driver ran very fast towards Bruges and brought us to the destination on time.
We obtained the city map at the tourist information centre in the station and headed for ‘Vivaldi’ restaurant, which was introduced in Chikyu no Arukitaka (Japanese travel guidebook). Belgian food has good reputation: Belgians love food and are keen to cook
Rabbits, cranberry and croquettes and salad
and serve good quality food in a friendly and welcoming manner. My mother promised to treat us at a good restaurant in Bruges as a means of birthday treat for Mark and her husband. After leaving the station, we walked across Minnwaterpak, South Park and reached Vivaldi on Wijigardstraat. Lots of tourists arrived there for lunch when we were in the restaurant. We could see only two waiters working, but they were serving customers very promptly. My mother and Mark had ‘beef stew cooked with beer sauce. My father had fried pork and I had ‘rabbit with cranberry sauce. Homemade salad and chips came as well with homemade sauces. Meats were very tender and well-flavoured; despite their big portions, we all ate everything on our plates. Mark had chocolate sundae ice cream and I had Belgian waffle with cream, ice cream and strawberries. They were all freshly served. My mother tried some of my Belgian waffle with strawberries and ice cream. She commented, ‘Together with coffee, all the food was very delicious.’
After eating lunch, we started strolling through Bruges. It was sunny, but not very warm. My parents found that Bruges is surrounded by brick buildings,
This is one of the Europe's highest brick towers
cobbled streets, and historic churches. As a well-known tourist destination, there were loads of restaurants and souvenir shops selling Belgian chocolates, waffles and a wide variety of lace clothes – curtains, bookmarks, and tablecloths. The city owes its prominent position to the beauty of its historic centre, whose winding lanes and picturesque canals are lined with well preserved medieval buildings – they are the legacy of the town’s heyday as a centre of the international cloth trade, which flourished for 200 years from the 13th
century. My parents were amazed with a very, very tall brick tower of Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, which is one of the tallest brick buildings in Europe.
We decided to ride on a cruise and got on an open boat at Rozenhoedkaai. There were charming medieval buildings; we took a number of photos before and when we were on a boat. Looking at the tourists, the young driver gave us commentaries in three languages – German, Dutch, and English and showed us a number of historic buildings dated from 12th
century and some modern artworks, which created good juxtaposition. From the boat, we could see the details of historic buildings – gabled roofs,
windows with traceries, which tell the city had a big complex of monastery buildings built by successful wool industry in the medieval period. We were also shown arched bridges built in a different period of the time. There have been a number of renowned artists who have produced amazing pieces of artwork. We saw a spiral tower made of the recycled metal, a giant whale made of plastics. The canal wall seemed to shelter us from the cold wind; we didn’t feel cold while we were riding on the open boat.
After that, we walked to Burg and Markt squares and looked at historic buildings such as Stadhuis, the former town hall, and the Belfort with its octagonal tower. There were a lot of horse carriages in Bruges and many tourists were riding on these horse carriages and immersing through the medieval city as with the canal cruises.
We then walked on Steenstraat and reached St Saviour’s Cathedral. We looked round this cathedral and admired richly decorated carvings, mythological paintings and a stunning pipe organ in the Catholic Church.
Afterwards, we walked back to the station. As planned, we bought snacks
We were shown several modern art works in the historic medieval canal city. This one looks like my daughter Beautie (killer whale) - we waved at her!
in Bruges station and had supper in the InterCity train between Brussels and Amsterdam.
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