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Published: January 25th 2013
Last weekend, I went to Bruges, in Belgium. Upon deboarding the train, I noticed a distinct shift in temperature from when I left Maastricht. Sure enough, there was abundant snow on the ground, and it was about a 25 minute walk to the hostel I was staying at. Good thing I packed warm clothes. I found out later than it hasn't snowed in Bruges for five years, lucky me 😊
Anyways, after leaving my stuff at the hostel, myself and the five girls I came with went to explore the city. Belgium, of course, is known for three things, predominantly: Waffles, Beer, and Chocolate. We found all three. Let's just say I need not eat for weeks now! The waffle I had was disapointing, but everything was closed, so I got one from a fast food place, thinking, oh you know, waffles in Belgium will be good everywhere! NOT. Tasted like fried chicken- probably because during the day they fry things in the same place they make the waffles. ewww. The chocolate was MUCH better, although there are some strange chocolate shops in Bruges. In the interest of staying competitive, chocolate shops have resorted to making molds for penis and
bra chocolates.....its very....strange. Now, the beer. Well, we went to a brewery that serves some of the worlds finest beer, so of course we had to try it. Later on we found ourselves in a tiny alley way which apparently used to be the red light district in 16th century? There we found another bar (literally wedged into a tiny wall), where we tasted a beer that is only sold in that bar, let alone the rest of the country, or world for that matter. It is an in-house ale that, lets just say, apparently there is a limit of three because they are so strong and if you had any more, you would need to be carried out!
In general, Bruges is very expensive. They market "mussels and fries" as a city specialty, but I think it is just an excuse to jack up the prices and reel you in. The mussels weren't that great and the prices were astronomical. Not suggested. I have had WAY better mussels back home, but then again I am spoiled on the west coast of Canada.
The next day, we went on a free walking tour of the city, where we
learned that the movie "In Bruges" was filmed here (too bad I didn't watch it until after I went to the city, although it was a very strange movie). We went to a bridge that was made in the 1500s across a canal where archers would hide and where, anyone who wasn't invited into the city would be targeted and killed. Glad they don't do THAT anymore because I didn't receive invitation to come here. I just arrived.
The clocktower is also stategically placed in the heart of the city, with winding stairs that run clockwise in order for right handed archers and swordsmen at the top of the stairs to have better positioning for attacking outsiders. The staircase is also very narrow so that if many invaders came up to loot the tower, they would have to do so one at a time, giving the swordsmen ample opportunity to kill them one by one. Strategic....
I found myself at the Notre Dame a little ways from the clock tower in the afternoon, which houses a madonna and child by Michangelo. Although this is interesting, I have seen MANY statues by Michelangelo during my last stay in Europe,
so what I found myself drawn to was the free orchestra playing in the middle of the church. The beautiful music they were playing almost made me cry, and I just sat there and stared and listened for what was probably almost an hour.
All in all, Bruges was beautiful, and its history and architecture were intriguing. By the time the weekend ended though, I was exhausted, and ready to return to Maastricht. I am back now and planning my next excursion. I have booked a trip to Denmark during carnival to visit my second cousins in Copenhagen, and meet up with a friend in Malmo, Sweden- which is only about half an hour from Copenhagen. It seems that school is keeping me centralized, but my travel bug is constantly stirring, so school sometimes gets in the way. Haha, not at all. I love the balance. Life is good.
Until next time,
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