Friday, October 29, 2010


Bruges / Brussels

I’m beginning to feel quite proud of my travel skills. Prior to this trip I was feeling the old pre-trip anxieties that used to have me second guess how important traveling is to me. Even this morning as I was walking to the train station, at 4:30am, I was still a little anxious. However, now that I’ve made it to the airport, in plenty of time and am now waiting for my flight to Copenhagen, I feel empowered. As lame as it sounds I almost feel like this trip is my “coming of age” trip. I’m learning how to travel by myself and am relying on any life skills I may have picked up along the way. So far it’s going quite well.

After leaving Geneva at 6:50am (I prefer to take really early flights so that I can sleep on the plane, get there when things are open and the sun is out), arriving in Brussels at 8am, taking a train to the city at 9:15, then taking a train to Bruges at 10:24 I finally arrived in Bruges at 11:30am. As most travelers will tell you, the thing that takes up the most time is traveling itself. I now had the rest of the day to discover the medieval city. After dropping my luggage off at my hostel I went to grab lunch. I found a cozy burger place and got a burger and fries. Belgium is actually where fries originated. They call them french fries because of the way they’re cut (same with french cut green beans). They were decent but I’ve had better.

After getting the key to my room I then spent the rest of the afternoon walking as much of the city as I could. I walked around most of the canals and the outskirts of the city. I got to see the canal that surrounds the city and some of the windmills that are next to it. I even walked down the main shopping street and didn’t buy anything! Huge success! I grabbed a tea and waffle for dinner at a cute tea room. Then I went back to my hostel and spent a lovely evening avec moi and went to bed early.

The next morning I woke up early and had breakfast at my hostel before returning to the train station to go to Brussels. I was fortunate enough to grab a train right when I got to the station! An hour later and I was back in the Capital of Europe. I went right to my hostel and once again dropped off my luggage. Then I commenced on the longest walking tour (and most painful) ever (well perhaps not ever, but it was long)!

The map I had had 3 different walking tours that locals recommended. I decided to combine all three plus take out or add to things I didn’t/wanted to see. I started off at the Botanical Gardens. Then I saw a church that could be pretty, so I walked about 10 minutes down to see it. It turned out to be quite small and not as nice as I thought so I took a photo and then turned around and walked back. Then I commenced down the street to find a monument of sorts, a farmer’s market (where I got a waffle for .50 Euro!), another church, European Parliament, Museums, a lot of parks, more fries, the Royal Palace, the Judicial Building, a great view, more tea, a very long road and more. It took me about 5 hours but I got to see quite a lot of the city. There was certainly more to be seen but I don’t think I would have wanted to stay more than a day. It’s definitely more of a business city then touristy. I actually didn’t see a single tourist shop all day and had to wait to buy my postcard (I buy one everywhere I go) at the airport.

Then I went back to my hostel, chilled out a little bit and then went to the train station to buy my ticket for this morning and check departure times.

Afterwards I went back and had another wonderful early evening curled in bed. I thought that it was pretty funny that there were people just getting to the hostel at 3am when I had to wake up at 4. I actually overheard someone saying to another person in the room they were from Pennsylvania at 3:30am so I asked where at in PA and she’s from Upper Dublin, about an hour from me. I never did meet her though since I had to leave in an hour. Small world.

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