Friday, October 24, 2008

In Bruges

When Steve told me he was having a performance in Belgium, and that I was invited, I told him we had to go to Bruges. When we lived in London, my friend Alison and I went on a trip together there and it was the first town I ever visited in Europe. I told Steve I wanted to take him there eight years ago when I first went, but we never had the chance. So, after we left Paris, we jumped a train for Bruges.
The first train was a commuter train out of Paris so it was cram packed and we had our big suitcases and had to basically sit on one of them until we got to Lille. There we had six minutes to find our connecting train and, amazingly, we did with no problem. We got on and found that the back section of the car was completely empty so we had space for us and our suitcases:

I could finally put my feet up after five days in Paris in a hotel room about the same size (and 10 times more noisy) than this compartment on the train.

Our luggage was very happy with it's seats too.

We got into Bruges and I was raring to go, but Steve was really tired. We came to a compromise and went to lunch first. We stayed in the same hotel I did the first time I went to Bruges, the Oud Huis Amsterdam. It is absolutely amazing, and the room was huge, beautiful, loaded with European charm, and the door didn't hit the bed when you opened it. We asked at the front desk for a recommendation for Mussels and Frites, and we were sent to the Cafe Braydel. It was amazing, and we were starving. I loved the mussels, not so much the frites, but they served some great bread I was able to sop up the white wine sauce (although I'm sure there wasn't any real wine in it). Do I have photos? Of course:

I figured out after these mussels that I've never had the cooked well before. These were tender, amazingly flavorful, and beautiful.

Steve has such great mussels.

Although it almost killed me, I kept up my end of the deal and let Steve go back to the hotel for a nap before we went out to explore Bruges. Once he finally woke up we were off. Here's some photos:

This is just a tiny example of the architecture in Bruges. It goes on like this forever, and around every corner is another amazing view.

Steve wandering through the back alleys and bridges in Bruges.

I loved these windmills during my first visit to Bruges, so I had to take Steve to see them. They are huge and you walk around a corner and there they are, and for some reason they totally take my breath away. Maybe it's because they're beautiful, graceful, and something you could never see in the States.

I remembered these statues from my first visit as well, and I couldn't remember where I had seen them. Luckily, we happened upon it in our wanderings. It is one of the four riders of the Apocalypse, and I love the skeletal look of it and the modern ideas behind it.

The Angels in the Architecture: Like I mentioned in Paris, I love to look at the amazing details everywhere and think about how much time and energy someone took just to make one little part of this building look beautiful. It's something I think is sorely lacking in the US. I love Europe for it.

After a walk around town until sundown, we went and got dinner at a cafe on Market Square. It was cold, but they had great heaters, so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the scenery. I had some amazing fish soup, and Steve had some beef stew made with Belgian beer (although I'm sure there was no real beer in it). Here's another short video of dinner.

I have to say, Paris is amazing, but I think that Bruges is one of the best kept secrets in Europe (or maybe I'm the only one who had never heard of it before I lived in London). It looks just like the movie In Bruges, but without all people getting their heads blown off. I highly suggest it (Bruges, not the movie). I hope you get there someday.