Sunday, October 7, 2012

In Bruges

(Alternate spellings: Brugse, Brugge, Brugs, anything else you could possibly think of)

Bruges is a magical gingerbread fairytale village. This is the absolute and definite truth.

(Pictured: my future home). This is the first thing you see when you walk into the city center. I kid you not. The most commonly used phrase this weekend was “this place cannot be real.” If you get lost, you end up in a park with a fountain surrounded by swans. If you’re hungry, someone will always serve you friets. And oh god, the waffles! So cheap, so delicious.

(Pictured: Harry Potter-esque alleyway. Every alleyway looks this nice, FYI). We spent the first day wandering aimlessly and saying “ooh, ahh” at everything. The people here are really into landscaping and having impeccable taste in architecture.

Bruges is very easy to navigate as there are really distinctive, tall monuments every 100 feet. The first one we found was this windmill.

(Pictured: me 2 seconds before I smacked my head on the underside of said windmill).

We consulted the hostel’s youth map, which recommended that we check out a little restaurant that was way off the beaten path for dinner. Essentially, we ate in a Belgian woman’s kitchen. There’s no real menu: you get what she wants to give you that day, you pay 10 euro, and you don’t regret it at all. Let me tell you, it was the best vegetarian lasagna I’ve ever had.

We ended the day at the mecca of Bruges nightlife, a large circle of bars arranged around a giant shared patio serving roughly 55 varieties of fruit beer - some of which have been steeped with fruit for 6 months (!!) and some of which have fruit-flavored extract arbitrarily dumped into them. You can tell which are which. Immediately. Regretfully, I don’t have a picture of this place as it was super dark and I was not into lugging my DSLR around at night. Rest assured, it was a lovely spot to spend a relaxing evening.

The next day, John and Lexie convinced me to buy a CityPass that got you into literally every cultural center in Bruges. I swallowed the 31 euro fee, and I was so glad I did. We got to do a boat tour,

(Note: even the lines for boat tours are more impeccably landscaped than anything you can find in any part of America)

Go to a lovely outdoor vintage market (this wasn’t part of the card but was a super lovely and unexpected surprise. I belong here, guys.)

See some original sketches by Picasso and go to a Salvador Dali exhibit in the most beautiful exhibit hall there ever was,


Go to a horrifying Medieval hospital/church museum (not pictured: everything. It was 99% horrifying, so count yourself lucky).

And climb the Belfry you can see in most of these pictures! It was almost 400 steps. Bit of a challenge…but so worth it. It was probably the best view I’ve ever experienced.

We were really proud of ourselves.

And ended the day with the world’s best hazlenut burger and frites with American Sauce (the name is deceptive, as it tastes 20x better than anything America could ever make. It’s a little bit spicy, a little bit creamy, a little bit tomato-ey. The recipe is mysteriously missing from Google, and I’m a little bit heartbroken).

We did Bruges right that day.

The next day, our CityPasses gave us a lovely experience in a different sort of way. We started off the day at the world’s most terrifying Folklore Museum (something like a replica colonial village with scary soulless mannequins and no mention of even a little bit of folklore. Also, the exit was sealed shut), then attended the Chocolate Museum (a secret advertisement for a chocolate brand called Belcolade which included off-brand Lego structures as exhibits. Seriously), and the Friet Museum,

But that’s all you need to know about that. The highlight was the illustrious Lamp Museum, which is everything you could dream it would be and more. The museum’s centerpiece was a 15-minute video of a man’s hand lighting different light fixtures in slow motion. Actually. We were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe - someone, somewhere, decided this museum would be a good idea and then built it.

We used up the last of our cards on a tour of the Half Moon Brewery, which was actually lovely and informative.

(Even their breweries are 100x prettier than ours could ever dream to be.)

The day culminated in a realization that we wrote down the wrong train information and a mad dash for the last bus back to Well, but all in all, it was excellent.

And god, the chocolate. I was trying to save it, but I just ate the last piece as I was writing this down. It’s so amazing, and it’s so damn cheap! I was selling truffles at my old job for literally four times as much.

(Pictured: Heaven, open till midnight because they know their target audience).

I sincerely fell in love with Bruges. It was incredibly beautiful, steeped in culture, and really, really, tasty. The “vibe,” as I love to prattle on about, was so chill and so perfect. It is quite literally as if you have stepped into a storybook. I can’t wait to go back. And future Castle-dwellers, if you’re reading this, Bruges should be your first trip. Trust me!

No comments :

Post a Comment