nice canal setting Had a long weekend to spend with our pal Matt (known as Cool Guy Matt to some readers) and some of his pals from England, so we hopped in his car while it was still dark last Friday and drove through the morning to Bruges — also known as Brugge and Brügge. It took about eight hours and when we got there, we were exhausted. And too early to check into the house we rented. So we drove to the seaside in search of some chow and to kill a few hours before checking in with the rented house’s landlord.

our streetWe got all checked in and then set out to procure foods and drinks for the weekend — that’s when the pleasure of reading Flemish really got started. All weekend Sarah and I were reading everything we saw out loud, giggling at the not-quite-English-and-yet-not-quite-German-ness of all the words we saw and quite easily could understand. It was even better than a layover in Amsterdam — that’s usually all the exposure to Flemish / Dutch that we get and this time we got lots more than just airport words.I love Flemish Part II

Bruges is a dense little watery place that specializes in cute. We never did get around to trying any wafelen, but we had plenty of interesting beer and frites. (The rumors are true: those are some darn good fries.) At first I was quite pleased with the apparently abundant willingness of everyone local to speak English with us. Everyone from our landlord for the weekend to the barmaids and even the check-out grannies at the Carrefour switched seamlessly to English for us.canal scene Then I got a little embarrassed, thinking about how they were all at least trilingual. Then I got over that too, thinking about how the town’s livelihood probably depends on it. We overheard a lot of not-French and not-Flemish that weekend.

We got lucky with the weather in that it didn’t rain much while we were out and about exploring the town on foot. The drive back to Germany from Bruges was a non-stop downpour though. Big props to Matt for the use of his car and footing the deposit. If you’ve got a big enough party, renting a whole house for a long weekend sure can keep the cost down. If you’re going by car, bring all that stuff you think you’d need at home for the weekend, like your good knives, and extra bottles of your favorite juice, or whatever — and don’t forget to hit the markets to stock up on stuff you’d have to think long and hard about if you were traveling by plane.

Here’s the slideshow (looks pretty nice full-screen):

11 thoughts on “Bruges”

  1. CN Heidelberg

    It’s my dream to do a fry-eating tour of Belgium! :D I’m glad to hear you say they really are good frites!

    1. cliff1976

      Apparently the secret is that they fry them twice in Belgium — or so we were told while there. A little wikipedia research shows that lots of places fry their frites twice, so I guess that’s inconclusive.

  2. Tammy

    If I understand the Flemish correctly, that parking place is reserved for mothers with Hairy babies. Did you see a lot of hairy babies there?

  3. expatraveler

    Oh I just love your pics! What a cool place to go on a short trip. Those are the things I miss about being in Europe for sure. Most everywhere is just a cheap trip away.

  4. cliff1976

    Thanks expatraveler! We’re adopting a “carpe diem” attitude about it.

    When you live in the United States (maybe Canada) or other big countries where the language, food, currency, culture doesn’t change much over the course of a many-hour drive, there’s only the hope of variable landscape to motivate you to get out and look around.

  5. Dave

    Bruges is fantastic, I was there a few years ago just after the Belgian Beer Fest in Brussels (during which trip I had something over 30 different beers in a weekend).

    We got a cool tour at the Zot brewery. I can recommend it!

  6. Phil

    The movie, ‘In Bruges’, is a fantastic, understated little piece of cinema that made me want to visit its namesake. I’m a little jealous.

    BTW, my wife is making noises about traveling next year and your name was brought up. Just a heads-up.

    1. cliff1976

      Thanks for the tip about the movie, Phil. We snapped it up at an HMV for £5 in Edinburgh last month and watched it last night.

      What a weird movie. The dialog struck me as cheesy, but the scenery made up for it. We rented a house less than 100yds from the Koningin Astrid Park (the scene where the murder/suicide didn’t happen) and enjoyed spotting all the landmarks we’d also photographed.

      Perhaps you should come see for yourselves!

  7. Phil

    I’m pretty sure some of my commas in the previous post are unnecessary.

  8. cliff1976

    Hey Phil!

    The landlord of the house we rented was super-proud of the fact that at least one of the stars of that movie (Brendan Gleeson for sure, maybe Colin Farrell too — but there was a picture of him with Brendan Gleeson, and homeboy Voldemort definitely did not stay there). Haven’t seen it ourselves, but thanks for the tip.

    Good luck on the travel planning — let us know if we can help or plan to stop in Regensburg or would like to meet up somewhere — our neck of the woods or elsewhere (we love trying out new places, and ‘m writing this from one of them).

  9. Phil

    Fair enough – I thought it was charming and original and was pleasantly surprised by it.

    And, yes, perhaps we should.

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