Adventures with Henry: Verwelkoming, Bruges!

Quick facts:

Who: Dear roommate Lindsay and cutie-pie Julia.

When: late 10/18 to midday 10/20

Where: St. Christopher's Hostel, Bruges, Belgium

Most used phrases:

Whipped cream: slagroom (slahg-rahm)

Fruit beer: lambic (lahm-bick)

Belfry: Okay, I have this pretty crazy fear of heights. Like, doing a dramatic scene on a seven foot platform in high school made me woozy. And then someone (me) thought it might be a good idea to climb all the way up to the very top of the Belfry which is about thirty stories high – I believe one of the placards said it was one of the tallest brick buildings in Europe. When you reach the top, it’s all open air, with only a thin wire chain-link over the giant windows. The views are breathtaking: but first you have to ascent all 366 steps to get there. Sketchy, narrow, creaky steps. Oh and you don’t have a railing: you have a rope. But, I made it with minimal flipping out and it ended up well-worth it. Fearers, beware!

Waffles: One cannot speak about Belgium without speaking about the waffles. And I could speak about them for days. It was our first official meal in Bruges and I had this beauty: a simple sugerwaffle schmeared with chocolate sauce. Believe me when I say I needed about two or three napkins to mop myself up…and still found chocolate on my chin halfway through the afternoon. Worth it.

Picasso exhibit: It’s surreal to see some of Bruges’ famous art. If you had told me back in September that I would get the chance to see A SINGLE WORK by Picasso, I would probably drop dead. Well, I got the chance to see over a hundred. Some were simple sketches, others elaborate paintings, and everything else in between. This was probably one of my favorite museums of all time since it was laid out expertly: they had other artists and displayed them side-by-side along with stories of their separate relations to Picasso and the influence they had on his work. Insanely informative and a crazy moment to stand in a room with six pieces of art that are probably worth more than your entire life. I’m just a nerd at heart, I swear.

American sauce: I know. It looks gross. My first thought too. But. BUT. Then you taste it. And. It. Is. Amazing. See, Bruges is also known for its fries, but more so for its extensive options for what to put ON the fries. Every little stand has at least five or six options (the record I believe was twenty?) and all you have to do is give the word and globs of some strange dip end up on top of your cluster of fries.

Dali museum: Talk about a museum to match the person it honors. I have never seen a busier place – red-washed walls, jaguar print stripes, mirrors, way too weird silent films playing, ottomans to sit that shockingly have wheels so you roll halfway across the floor when you plop down…it’s an experience. I got to see one of my favorite paintings – Four Dreams of Paradise – and probably just gazed at it for a good ten minutes. As an added bonus, they had framed quotes from Dali. (He’s an extremely quotable person, believe me.)

Church of Our Lady: I mention this particularly because I am not a fan of architecture or medival churches, but this place literally took my breath away. The sheer size and magnitude of the ceiling, pulpit, and organ are enough to shock anyone, but add in the fourteenth century mausoleums and sculpture by Michelangelo and you have to sit down. We wandered all the way through, looking at paintings and old confessionals, finally lighting a candle for the church’s specific charity and bidding farewell. Definitely worth a half hour of your time.

Other favorites:

‘t Poatersgat (an underground bar!?), Chocoholic, Bruges Zot brewery tour

End result:

Bruges was a quick but culture-filled trip that was low on stress and high on caloric content. The sheer amount of STUFF we got done in just a day astounds me and I wish I had more time. Most of that would be spent eating, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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