Bruges (2004-04-02 - 2:08 p.m.)

Finally, an entry! Dont worry, Im not dead, Ive just been suffering from a deplorable lack of internet access. Or at least, the internet cafe at the hostel is horrendously expensive (9 cents per minute, or more than 5 Euros per hour) and the internet cafe I found seemed to have only bizarre Flemish keyboards. Luckily I discovered they do have one "normal" keyboard (yes, I know, North American-centric) so now I can actually type with some speed. I find Flemish keyboards very annoying to type on, as some of the letters are switched around and the symbols are in odd places. Almost painful, which is why Ive kept email to a minimum and posting nonexistant.

The result of the radio silence of the last week is that I have a ton of stuff to talk about. Will probably end up spreading it out... but Ive seen so much cool stuff lately I have to post it! Im still in Bruges, oddly enough. I planned to go down for the weekend, sort of on a whim and to get out of London. Also, I was vaguely considering working in the hostel there if things seemed promising. However, I got an email Friday just after I got into Bruges telling me I got the job, and after that point this turned from one more place Ive stayed on my long list of places, to a holiday to be enjoyed to the utmost before I have to start work! Since the job doesnt start till Monday, it also meant I could stay here longer... which was fine with me. Bruges is one of the most beautiful towns Ive ever come across and the longer I stay, the more I like it.

So since Ive been here Ive seen quite a lot of the city centre. I spend the weekend mostly just wandering around looking at things, which is very fun in a place with so much to look at. There are a lot of canals and rivers with graceful arched stone bridges over them. Many of the buildings are in the Flemish style, which (I learned) means stepped gables (ie. sort of false fronts that are roughly triangular at the top, but with stair-shapes going down the edges of the triangle). I did a boat tour of the city, which was decently interesting and where I learned a few facts. A precious few, though. The guide was obviously very bored and recited the one sentence about each place of interest in a complete monotone, in three different languages. He sounded like he was falling asleep. Then at the end he had the temerity to suggest that a small tip for the driver was customary if we enjoyed the commentary. I almost told him exactly what I thought about the "commentary" (and also that tipping is apparently NOT customary in this country) but decided it wasnt worth the scene!

Yesterday I rented a bike and went for a ride to Zee-Brugge, which is a small town about 15 km away. Its by the sea, and I wanted to see some ocean. Unfortunately if there was a beach or something, I couldnt find it. The ride was nice, though. The weather has been seriously summer-like here (plus 20 or above every day, tons of sunshine) so it was wonderful to be outside, and all the roads have very nice and clearly-defined bike paths or lanes. None of this dodging in and out of traffic - they value their bicyclists here. Of course I managed to get lost at least six or seven times, setting out by myself and with no map. Luckily for me the Belgians are also big on roadsigns, so I always managed to find one going in the right direction eventually. Im glad I went, because its started to rain today. Also, as a souvenier of the trip, I have an extremely sore rear end and for some reason a huge bruise on my knee - Im glad Ill have a day to recover before climbing back on the bus for six hours!

I have a million more Bruges stories (and some good ones from Antwerp, where I met up with Steph for a day) but it looks like it has stopped raining and I have tentative plans to climb the bell tower and see the Chocolate museum today. I love Bruges! More later.

backwards ~ onwards

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Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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