In case you are keeping track, our trip has brought us to 6 countries so far:
3. Northern Ireland
4. Republic of Ireland
And today..number 7…birrrrrrrrrrruuuuuummmmpt…Belgium!
(for the record that above word was a drum roll…not a really long burp…)
We started our morning very early, and not just early for being in such a relaxed area but the earliest we have gotten up on the trip so far. In fact it would even have been early compared to what time we would get up at home (unless you’re counting when Kris worked at the power plant). In order to use our Eurail passes and get to Bruges at a good time we had to start our journey on the 7am train. This took us from Tours to Paris Austerlitz. We then hopped on the metro to Paris Nord. Our next train went from Paris Nord to Lille Flanders. And after a quick lunch at McDs (don’t judge us, our layover was quick & they have wifi) we were on another train from Lille to Bruges. Finally at 2:30pm we emerged to the Belgian air.
Our first thought when we emerged in the Bruges rail station was “Oh my, we don’t have nay idea about this language…” German is much less familiar to us than French. But through the magic of matching words (that we have no idea what they meanor how ot say them) we found our hostel. It’s a nice enough place with free wifi and a 4 bed room. We then set out to do a load of laundry. There wasn’t laundry at the hostel so we had our first ever Laundromat encounter…it’s nice that we did it in Belgium where everything was in German. We planned out our day tomorrow while we waited for our clothes to spin, spin, spin around and be squeaky clean.
After dropping our clothes off at the hostel we went to the Market Square. This is the center of town, or at least the tourist part…which is all we’re concerned with. It is the cutest thing! There is a bell tower at the one side that chimes every 15 minutes. The other sides are all an adorable mish-mash of old buildings. It is an ideal place for photos, which makes sense as Bruges is mainly a tourist city. Two-thirds of the town is employed by tourist related industry.
We walked through the square and along each of the streets running off of it. One featured the chocolate shop that Rick Steves recommended we visit. A note on chocolate shops…chocolate shops are to Bruges as coffee shops are to Seattle, they are on every block! And each one is more tempting than the next! But we waited for the one we knew would be good…as Rick Steves has yet to steer us wrong. It was called Dumon and looked as good as the chocolates tasted! We had a sample and decided to buy the 250g taster box. That should last us a couple of days 🙂 or maybe just two 😉
Eventually we realized that our wandering had almost taken us the the complete opposite corner of town as we had started in (at the train station). That meant we were very near the windmills. We are not sure why there are windmills along the canal…but we do know the canal is there as it used to be the moat when the center of Bruges had a castle built on it. Anyway, the windmills…they were 4 large windmills spread out along the canal, just hanging out. We took pictures and enjoyed the walk (we need to work off those chocolates!).
Rick Steves had told us only tourists eat before 7:30 here, but we just couldn’t wait that long! Maybe tomorrow we will fit in a bit better. We went for supper at a place recommended by both Rick Steves and our “for the young, poor, hosteling backpacker” map (that was made by young locals so it must feature the best places). It was called Medard and we would recommend it to anyone coming to Bruges, not just the people like us. We had a big bowl of spaghetti (which was actually the small size) and a half litre of local beer for under $10 Canadian! And it was soooooo good. Seriously, we’d eat this spaghetti every night. You might not think spaghetti is very Belgian but they serve it everywhere so wedifices it was a local thing we should take in…plus it was super cheap!
Love, Luck & Loaded with Cheese,