So far, in every place that we’ve traveled, I’ve felt a certain degree of safe. In Dublin, people were nice, but I still wore my purse under my jacket. In Paris, I clutched my purse like it was a loaded gun. I was looking around at all times to make sure I wasn’t about to get mugged. In Brugge, I felt like I could’ve handed my purse to a stranger to hold, and they probably would’ve given it back. The minute we got off the train around 10pm Wednesday night, I was in love. It was dark, rainy, and there was a lone taxi waiting outside the train station. We hopped in and arrived a few minutes later at Snuffel Hostel. This place was amazing: as we walked into the hostel, I thought we were walking into a bar. The entrance area was in fact, a bar, and the rooms were all upstairs. We checked in, threw our stuff down in our room (which we shared with 10 or so other travelers, dorm style), and headed back downstairs to join the party. We met a guy our age from Canada who was there to surprise his best friend who was traveling around Europe with his girlfriend at the time. We all grabbed a beer (I tried the Belgian beer Delirium) and hung out, playing drinking games and trying new brews. Three hours and many new friends later, it was definitely time for bed.
The next morning was a late one, so when Cedric and I woke up before Jed, we decided to walk over to the Bell Tower in the center of town which was just 10 minutes walking from our hostel. The cobblestone streets and charming buildings stole my heart. Each little place looked different and I loved it. The only thing that really confused me was the language – Flemmish? I was expecting French, or German, or something… but this mixture was something I couldn’t wrap my mind around. Luckily most people spoke English so we survived. Once Jed woke up we went back to the Bell Tower. Before getting in line, Cedric bought some famous Belgian fries. Yum! We got in line but 20 minutes later, we hadn’t moved, so we decided to nix it. Everyone was still tired, so we voted on taking another nap. Afterwards we grabbed lunch and started to walk around the town. Since it was late and most of the museums were closed, we found other things to do. We visited the Church of Our Lady, which hosted Michelangelo’s sculpture of Madonna and Child. Next up we tried some lovely Belgian chocolates, and then found ourselves lost in the backstreets of the town – the real way to explore a city! After taking lots of pictures (some of them very interesting!), we eventually found ourselves in a nice park area, and figured out our way back to the hostel.
Since we were trying to save money, Cedric and I walked in the rain to a nearby grocery store to buy ingredients for a traditional French dinner that he wanted to cook. I did my best to be helpful in the kitchen, but he definitely knew what he was doing. He prepared charcuterie with boiled potatoes then fried in lots of cheese and onions. It was absolutely delicious, and we even had some cheap red wine with it! Since it was raining that night, and we were all still tired, we decided to call it an early night and head to bed in order to wake up for our early train to Amsterdam the next morning.
I think that Brugge has been my favorite part of the trip so far. The charm of the city is just lovely. For instance, walking across a bridge, we looked down and saw about a dozen bunnies just hanging out in someone’s little backyard. It was the cutest thing ever. The people there were super friendly, helping us make taxi reservations to make our train and letting us check out earlier than normal. I’d love to go back here – although it’s a small town, there is so much more to see.
pictures: (1) random bunnies by a river (2) town center (3) more town center (4) entrance to our hostel (5) Michaelangelo’s sculpture (6) chocolate dragon in a Belgian chocolate shop (7) me while we were lost in the backstreets (8) just Brugge, being pretty as usual