Day 17 – Brussels to Brugge

I got up and packed for another travel day. Downstairs I got some bread and butter with some tea, and eventually met up with Nicole and Karaline. We went out to the Comics Museum, which wasn’t open yesterday but it sounded somewhat interesting. How wrong we were. We went there and walked around, but really it was a bunch of comics that I did not know at all, all in French, and nothing too exciting. There was a lot of Tin Tin, and some Smurfs, and then some other slightly familiar stuff. I kind of want to read this one comic with this cool looking guy wearing a captains hat. Forgot what the name was.

Anyhow, left for Brugge at the train station. I just missed the last train, so I was waiting for the next one. But I didn’t really understand the train situation, this being the first time taking an actual continental train. So I missed that train too. And also apparently it was on a different platform. So I finally caught the right train and got to Brugge.

Brugge is a really cute place. Very traditional cobblestone and small alleyway Europe. This is the small town one might dream of when thinking of “small European town”. I walked for a while to get to the hostel, but not too long since it only takes about 30 minutes to cross the entire town. I got into my room and immediately this girl asks where I’m from. When I said “California” she said “I called it!”, which makes me wonder how recognizable it is. Maybe it’s the long hair curling out of my hat? Maybe its the extremely relaxed disposition and countenance? Who knows. Anyhow, we both had just arrived so we decided to go explore.

First we went to the Belfry, which is a large clock-tower in the center of town. We walked up the 366 steps, which were all in a spiral so it was a little bit dizzying. Up at the top there was all the clock mechanisms and chimes and such, and it looked like one of those miniature song playing wind up toys where you have a central cylinder with bumps and some metal keys which it pushes when the cylinder rotates. While we were up there it actually started to play, which was exciting and really cool to watch. There was also a great view of the city.

Went back down and walked to the other side of town where we tried to find the happiest street in town. Supposedly there had been some suicides there (which doesn’t make any sense because it’s such a beautiful place), so they put up a couple signs telling people to have a good day and smile. We only saw one, and I forgot to get a picture. Walked a little past that and found some really cool windmills. Thats when I realized I had no idea what the girl’s name was. It was Celine. Anyhow, the windmills were cool.

We went back to the plaza with the Belfry because our map talked a bit about two competing stands at the foot of the Belfry. These stands sold amazing “fritkok”, or fries. Since there were two of us, we decided to buy one from each and try them to test what was better. We sat down in the square, one fries with ketchup (so touristy american) and one with special sauce (A mix of mayonais, ketchup and mustard). Both fries were absolutely amazing. We couldn’t really decide at first, but eventually I decided I liked mine better. Celine of course thought hers was better. Mine was crispier (though she didn’t think so). Either way, we ate a lot of dust since all this grit blew into the fries while we were eating them.

We then went back to the hostel to chill some more. I took a shower and Celine read Angels and Demons. Eventually happy hour came around and we went down to enjoy beers for 1 euro each. We met up with some others and all ordered two beers each. We got to the table, and while I was sitting down my knee bumped the table and EVERYTHING shook. Each person managed to quickly grab both of their beers except for me, who could only grab one while the other tipped over and poured itself all out into the ash tray and a bit onto the table. So that was quite an amazing party foul and we then had an ash tray full of beer.

Despite that, we had a pretty good time. Played a drinking game called “Fuck You” where it was something with cards and a bit like the card game Asshole. It was also a good way to learn people’s names. After drinking a lot, we went out into the night. Some went to bed, but the rest of us went with the bartender to this other bar across town. It was still open, but when I got there I didn’t really find much enjoyment, and talked in italian with some spanish people for a bit before heading back. I was really tired.

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