Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Brugge is medieval wonderland, easily deserving its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its many canals, it is often called the "Venice of the North." We were lucky enough to spend a day exploring its medieval streets. Aaron was our tour director, scanning the skies for towers and dragging us in the appropriate direction in hopes of gaining altitude over the village for the big view. His tour led us through several cathedrals which yielded dead ends in the elevation department but valuable information that we could climb a bell tower in the city hall at the center of town. With his sights set on the bell tower, we headed out. We arrived at the city hall just as it was beginning to fill with beer festival attendees anxious to get their hands on Belgian brews and then step into the central courtyard for a smoke. We shuffled through the crowd to buy our tickets for entrance up the stairs. Floor by floor we climbed above the clouds of cigarette smoke, pausing on each to check out its contents. We saw the old trunk with its seven locks that held the cherished town charter that established the townspeople's rights with the king as well as other important documents. We saw the carillon drum that played the music of the bells and the process of how it all works. We saw bells of all sizes, and at the top we saw the windy, rainy view. We hung out waiting for the hour to turn so we could watch and listen, with our hands over our ears, to the bells in action. As we exited the town hall, Jason decided that having tried Belgian waffles, Belgian chocolate, and Belgian beer, we had to try the last typically Belgian thing we hadn't tried yet, frites, or as we say in America, French Fries. So he got in line with all the other tourists to place his order. When our frites arrived, all the boys anxiously started devouring the basket. I took one, chewed it, and very inconspicuously spit it out. Mmm delicious. Overcome with thirst, we sought out the pub with over 300 Belgian beers. Located on a quiet, empty street, we stepped into the crowded, dark pub and worked our way to the back corner where we sat down and ordered a local brew from the dizzying list of choices and had a plate of cheese. Feeling properly Belgian, we headed back to the train where we snuggled together as we passed my phone around playing Ticket to Ride Europe while the Belgian countryside glided by in the dark.

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