Brugge - Chocolate, Waffles, Churches & Beer

Trip Start Feb 07, 2008
Trip End May 08, 2008

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Hello everyone!! I hope this finds you all unthawing from your latest sub-zero temperatures!! I've been thinking about you all back in South Dakota!

My weekend has started out wonderfully over here--a group of us decided to take a quick trip to Brugge, Belgium on Thursday and Friday. There was eight of us that went and had a blast including myself, Mackenzie, Jessica, Katie, Wes, Pablo, Ryan, & Matt. We hopped on the train on Thursday afternoon after class and met a very nice couple from Brugge who helped us get to our final destination in one piece. It was about a 3 hour train ride so when we arrived it was already dark. Pablo, our "tour guide" for the weekend was confident that we would reach our Hostel with no problems and to our suprise we did, so we trusted him with the maps for the rest of the trip. None of us have stayed in a Hostel before so we were all a little nervous--turns out it was a pretty quaint little place with a restaurant on the bottom and we had a "private" room with 3 sets of bunk beds so we felt pretty secure.
We dropped off our bags and headed out into the Centre Square to explore a little bit. The couple from the train recommended a restaurant called De Republiek so we asked around a little and found some of the best food we've had since we landed in Europe two weeks ago. The cafeteria here at Teikyo thinks that all "meat" is better fried up and slapped on a bun, but I guess we beg to differ. We all ordered pasta and nobody had a clean plate when we left. Some adventurous drinks were ordered around the table too and we all left with very satisfied stomaches. Afterwards we made our way to a couple bars and tried to dance to techno music all night, but went a little crazy when they started playing songs like Grease Lightning and Spice Girls.
It seems that all of Europe is about 10 years behind America with music tastes -- I'm going to wander a little off the Brugge topic here so bear with me -- Wednesday night, almost our entire program decided to hit up the American bar, The Highlander, in Maastricht and it turns out Wednesday night is Karaoke night, so we hit up the book of tunes and nearly all the music was American, but 95% of it was frun the year 1991 or earlier. Ashley and I of course got called up to the stage first and belted out Pretty Woman, then Ryan, myself, and the rest of MCTS (Maastricht Center for TransAtantic Study) rocked out to some Vanilla Ice and the entire bar started chanting U.S.A!! Fredel, I wish you would have been there for that!! Okay..back to Brugge...
The next morning we all woke up in the same room in the hostel--turns out two of the boys were too scared to sleep in a room with 3 strangers from China who slept with the lights on in the other room. All excited to find some Belgium waffles for breakfast, we headed into the streets to find that no stores are even open until 10am! So with more advice from our friends from the train, we went to a charming little breakfast place and were a little confused when we walked in. There was the biggest table I've seen in the center of the room and people just scattered around it. We were directed to sit wherever we wanted so we squeezed in and talked with everyone else at the table us who gave us some good advice for trips to Prague. The breakfast was the best I've had since in Europe as well--I had a apple rhubarb crumble and a cup of real hot chocolate. A couple of us also shared a mixed bread bowl with chocolate and fruit spread; also delicious! I think the highlight of this trip was all the great food that we had!
For the rest of the afternoon we just wandered around town and stopped by the Brugge Museum and a couple different churches. The churches were so breath-takingly gorgeous that I felt bad even taking pictures. Sometimes beauty and the way you feel in the moment can't be captured by a camera--I felt this way for the entire morning!! All around town there were horse drawn carriages and I felt as though I was in a fairy tale as I walked through a garden of flowers to a pond of ducks and swans. I didn't have a care in the world and just soaked up the peace and beauty of Brugge...
The tallest point in town is a tower called the Belfort Tower, and we all decided to climb it!! 366 stairs later we found ourselves on the top of the world. It was really windy and cold, but definately worth the spiral climb. The bells in the tower rang when at the top --- hopefullly my video of this will work so you can hear.
Belgium waffles were finally found after this and they were everything that I expected and maybe a little more. Mine was a chocolate banana one - very very good. It may have tasted better just because of the fact that I was in Belgium when I ate it, but I am going to say it is possibly the best waffle I've ever had.
Pablo, the tour guide, took us to the church where the Blood of Christ was held. This was all a little weird for me--we got there for a short service and then everyone was able to go up to the alter and touch the vile that supposedly held Jesus's blood. I went up, but was a little freaked out and didn't touch anything....I'm still not sure how I feel about that church...
To follow that very religious moment, we went to the local Brugse Zot Brewery for a tour. This is where we all kind of got off our "Brugge High." The tour was packed and when the guide was speaking English we were too far back to hear anything. This place also had stairs...220 of those suckers!! I am confident that the entire continent of Europe was built on stairs...crazy guys.. We did get a free beer at the end of the tour, which made it a little better, but I don't care to go on a brewery tour again...I'll just drink the beer..haha!
As I said this was a quick trip so we headed back home to Maastricht on Friday afternoon and nodded in and out of sleep the entire way home. Belgium was very beautiful and I am actually going back on Sunday to Liege, Belgium where there is a Market every Sunday which everyone tells me I need to experience so I will write about that next time. Until then--I miss you all loads and keep warm back in SD!!!

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fredelthomas on

Miss you...
Hey Kels,

We miss you! We leave tomorrow for skiing. We will all have a beer for you! Wish you could be in 2 places at once! I so wish I could hae been there for the Vanilla Ice. Did you show them the running man? I'm sure you impressed everyone.

Looks like you are having a blast!

We are praying for you!

Jason and Fredel

PS. Jalen is sitting up pretty much on her own now. She tumbles when she reaches for things. No more bouncy chairs as she just sits up and sometimes falls right out. Bad Mommy... :) Good thing it was only 6 inches to the floor.

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