After a short train ride from Amsterdam, I arrived in Bruges. From the center of debauchery to the heart of peace, is how I view the transition. The center of Bruges, situated on an island ringed by an excellent 5 km trail, was lovely. The many streets that radiate from the square hide interesting shops, gorgeous old buildings and some incredibly beautiful stained glass – integrated into residential homes as any window might be.
After checking into Lybeer Travellers' Hostel, most of my time in Bruges was spent sightseeing. I walked around the 5 km ring, tried to find some funny things like a cannon stuck in the road (left by the retreating Dutch troops some time in the 1500s), and lots of books about Tin-Tin and the Smurfs – all Belgian creations. After steeping myself in Belgian history for a while, it was time to turn my attention to gastronomic gluttony. I spent the rest of the day trying all things Belgian:
- Fries from the competing stalls on the Market Square. As far as fries go, I thought they were excellent and enjoyed the spicy sauce. And, much like Travolta’s character Vincent Vega explains in Pulp Fiction, they don’t just give you a little bit of sauce on the side, “they fuckin' drown ‘em in it.”
- Delicious and incredibly inexpensive ice cream from Da Vinci
- A serious of Belgian abbey ales hic
- A lovely, but cloyingly sweet, black cherry beer
- Some chocolate, wherein I discovered (again) that I remain allergic to hazelnuts
- A waffle with some sort of caramel sauce and powdered sugar
After eating all that, I rolled back to the hostel and sat in a chair, staring at my engorged abdomen for a couple of hours, while I read nerd news online. After things had settled down, I joined a group of others at the hostel for some conversation and an international trivia match (which I think my team won, but cannot be sure since the game was accompanied by much drinking and eventually fell apart, freeing everyone to head
to bed out for more drinks).
After a couple of days in Bruges, it was off to Barcelona. I enjoyed the city, and it would be a relaxing place to spend a little more time. However, even with my short stay, I was able to see many things, try a spectacular variety of food, share some good times with fellow travellers and have a decent night of rest.