brussels re-cap IV
monday, june 28
i've been looking forward to today since i arrived in brussels. today i went to bruges! and can i just say, it's as beautiful as everyone says. after the one hour train ride, i walked the 20 minutes to town; just follow the stream of people heading there. the city is old europe charm with its pristine cobble stone streets and brick buildings. it's a place that you just meander. i didn't really even use my map but just wandered down the streets and ducked into alleys.
course being such a small place, any walking you do will eventually lead you to the city centre. and i must say, i was surprised that it was so "commercialized". there was no starbucks per se (belgium outlawed any starbucks coffeeshop since they have their own coffee culture), but there were high street stores like h&m and jane norman et al. i felt slightly disappointed to see retail sale signs hung everywhere. i understood though. once you get the tourists to bruges, you have to get them to stay there somehow and spend money. and what better way than shopping? still, it would've been more authentic if the stores were only one-of-a-kind local businesses.
i wanted to climb up the 366 steps of the belfort to check the panoramic view of bruges but it was under renovations. the admission price was reduced to € 8 and restricted to certain sections so i passed.
wanting to see the real bruges, i made leave of the shopping streets pronto. i walked to the burg, which used to be the city's town hall. popped into the st basilius chapel there and sat for a few minutes to take in the choral music coming over the speakers. the 12th-13th century romanesque church with its heavy brick columns and archways looked like an interior of a castle. it had the feeling of being underground which was what i liked about it. i did not go upstairs to the heilig bloedbasiliek aka the basilica of the holy blood where it is said the blood of jesus is preserved in a vial.
leaving the burg, i walked south to take in the groenerei canal and bridges. seeing this and being away from the crowd made me happy. bruges is gorgeous and a definite must see. sure, it's quiet and not much will probably happen at night, but it's peaceful and absolutely charming. i'd love to come back for longer than just an afternoon visit. next time.
my last night in brussels i wanted to indulge in authentic belgian waffles. so slapped some strawberries and whipped cream on it and a happy girl i'll be. the waffles were fresh, sweet and so good.
i came back to pascales and packed for my return tomorrow. pichou has become so used to me that he follows me to the bedroom and just hang outs with me. when i was watching tv, he came over and sexed himself all over my shoes, leaving his scent on them.
seriously, can i just smuggle him out of the country?