Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies. This is the dawning of the rest of our lives, On holiday…

Okay, so apologise for any spelling mistakes in this post but I am using the computer in the hostel that has a Belgian keyboard, yet is typing like a USA/Aus one…so I am using my memories of learning to touch type from primary school lol.

Today I am in Belgium, Bruges to be precise, but I feel I need to wrap up my time in Copenhagen.  Last night was a very fun and relaxing night.  The best way to top of my time in Denmark.  After a meal of “Fried Flesh” and potatoes with some awesome sauce that Jonna made (okay, I am rabbiting on about it a bit…but she cooks good food!), the whole family ended up sitting down for tea, popcorn and jeopardy.  That was of course after I enjoyed the wonders of a Danish thunderstorm.  The storm moved in quickly, and basically left just as quickly, but it was fierce and had that strange beauty that thunderstorms have.  The funniest part about the whole night was that although a trivia board game is supposed to be a challenge for the contestants, as the jeopardy game was in Danish for my benefit Sebastian (quizmaster of the evening) had the test of translating every question in to Danish.  He was surprisingly good, although I should learn not to be so impressed by the multilingual nature of europeans but pretty much every word he struggled with, I (the native speaker) struggled with as well haha.  It was an early night for all involved though as everybody had to be up early, Peter (who was driving me to the Metro Station) and myself having to be up incredibly early…at 5am :(

The process of getting up, going to the Metro Station, getting to the Airport, checking in and getting on the plane all went very smoothly.  A little too smoothly some might say.  Well, just as I was remarking to myself how easy the process had all been I encountered that the train from Brussels Airport to the city that would lead me to my train to Bruges was affected by a strike (Damn Unions :P ).  So I ended up having to get on a couple of trains, not really knowing where I was going and relying mainly on the dodgy english suggestions of the staff at the stations.  However, surprisingly come 12:30pm…I was in Bruges.  I was kind of proud of my ability to negotiate all of this when although all signs/announcements were in 3 languages…none were english.  I realised that although I thought Denmark was the first country I have visited without knowing the language, the fact I had the help of supportive extended family…I didn’t really realise the daunting task it was.

I did get some time to examine the countryside of Belgium, although I saw non of Brussels (besides the main train station).  The country is just what you would expect.  Plenty of green. Plenty of farms and cows.  Plenty of pitched roof gingerbread houses and most of all the landscape is peppered with old church spires poking up through the scenery

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When I got in to Bruges, I found my hostel and dropped off my bags.  I would have to wait to check-in so I thought I better make the most of my time and wander the streets of Bruges.  I took a stroll down to Markt and the Belfry, which is widely regarded in all the guides as THE attraction and also plays a main part in “In Bruges” so really, it had to be the first thing I saw and place I went to.  The Belfry was another of those mammoth stairclimbing challenges, where the steps and stairwells get smaller, tighter and harder to navigate as you got up.  However, once again I successfully reached the top of over 350 steps.  I was proud of the achievement as I looked out over the fairy tale like city that is Bruges.  On the horizon you can see the influence of the 21st century but the city itself, especially from this high angle where the glass storefronts and electronics can hardly be seen, seemed to be trapped in the 1600s.  That is the point of this city though as it was  thriving port town that got cut off from development as the bigger ships of about 300 years ago couldn’t reach it through the narrow canals.

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After my trip up, and down, the Belfry I took the advice of everyone I had spoken to and that is to see the city from the canals.  I found the nearest tourist boat stop and for just 7 euros I was off as part of a full boat of tourists for our hour long multilingual tour of the city.  The tour gave a little information about the history of the town, but also did a very good job of pointing out all the major landmarks so that I can now roughly know where all the other places I want to visit are.  Overall, the canal tour just reinforced the fact that Bruges is a city that just doesn’t look real. The only downside of the tour was that it started to pour with rain just as it started.  It didn’t distract from the beauty of the place, but it did mean that I had to navigate my neck around a vast sea of umbrellas to see things.  I was one of those people who didn’t really mind getting wet as long as I got to see the wonders of the city.

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Okay, I am off soon as I can’t sit in Belgium without going to the pub for some good ol’ Belgian Beer.  However, there is one last thing I want to say.  It has taken me just a few hours in Bruges to not only notice how great the place is, but also that the movie magic was well in force for  “In Bruges.”  So far I can tell you that the ticked booth to the Belfry is nowhere near where it is in the movie, they only shot in the widest part of the tower (even when it is supposed to be at the top) and at the top the area is well enclosed…unlike in the movie.  These are the kind of small things that are bound to keep popping up and keep me entertained haha.

Anyway…beer awaits!

May 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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