Beautiful Belgium

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Dec 01, 2006

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Brugge, how much do I love you, let me count the ways...

Brugge (Bruges in English) is the coolest little city ever. It is full of tourists, but in a place like this, you don't even care. There is so much going on and even though nothing majorly historical has ever happened here, it is a lovely place to walk around and peruse.

The city where the tourists go is an island surrounded by a moat. On this island is a multitude of hotels, hostels, lace shops, chocolate shops, waffle cafes, museums and churches. The real citizens of Brugge live outside of this ring and I imagine that they would have little reason to come inside this ring of tourism.

The entire inner city has been kept in a medieval state and supposedly looks the same as it did hundreds of years ago. This is one of the charms of Brugge: when you climb the tower in the centre of the city, you can see all the way out to the moat and the rule for changing your house here is that it must stay the same in appearance from the perspective of the tower. It is a little bit strange, but it guarantees that the tourists will flock here year after year. The city streets are interspersed with canals and so Brugge has come to be known as the Venice of the north. Although these canals were originally intended for ships to bring goods to the centre of the market square, all they seem to do now is have tourist ferries go up and down with loudspeaker commentary about the city. There are now obviously better ways to get goods from one place to another and so these canals really are just for looks. I was reading an information booklet about the city and before there was street lighting (hundreds of years ago) it was common for people to come out of the pubs late at night and stumble into the canals and drown.

Something that is really cool about the streets is that they have all be paved indivually with stones. Makes you feel like you are in the medieval era - what is intended here of course!

I saw a pub that has been in operation since 1515. That is nearly 500 years in operation: quite a feat when you consider that our country has only been united under one banner for 105 years. This pub has supposedly been at the centre of scandal for many years and publicans who had ideas contrary to that of the public would be thrown out or beheaded.

One of the most significant things I have seen in Brugge would have to be the vial of coagulated blood supposedly belonging to none other than Jesus Christ. I walked into the church, which has been brightly decorated and walked up the stairs to where a priest was guarding this vial of blood. He asked me if I knew what it was and then encouraged me to kiss it - I declined: it doesn't seem hygienic to kiss something like that - let alone all the people who have kissed it before me!

There is one thing about Brugge that I don't like: the horse drawn carts - it doesn't make sense that they are here and the sound is really irritating. You have silence and then suddenly a horse comes clopping along at a slow jog. Bloody tourists!

The beer and food here is fantastic! Anyone that knows me well, knows that I love the pub at home called "the Belgian Beer Café". Now am I inside Belgium and nothing can stop me! The beers are something special and if you just chugged them down like people at home, you would be losing out big time.

To sign off, I will just mention that I am starting work in the hostel tomorrow! Tell you more about it later...
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amullett on

Re: March 2006
I will write about this new job in my next blog entry, so remember that patience is a virtue everyone!

Hopefully I will be going to the USA to meet up with Sonya among others in the next year or so, but nothing is for certain.

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