A Travellerspoint blog

July 2011

Day 92, Home!

sunny 22 °C

We made it!!
We are so relieved to finally be back to our own (private!) space.
You'll find me on my personal blog from now on.
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Posted by s-a 15:51 Archived in Canada Comments (4)

Day 90, Brussels

rain 18 °C

We left our hostel in Bruge at 0930 and got into Brussels at 1230. We found our guesthouse relatively easily and ditched our stuff. We left right away to find lunch, we were both starving. We ended up eating burgers at a yummy burger bar down the square from us. Burgers in Belgium? Why didn’t we wait till we got home? We were hungry damn it!
We wandered around the city, but being Sunday only the super touristy stores were open. This includes chocolate shops however and I was all too happy to indulge. The city is much different than I thought. The overall feeling is very grand, large fancy buildings everywhere you look! It’s also mixed with a good dose of modern though, to keep Shane happy. We did see the Mannekin Pis and all I said was “That’s it!?” Jeez, it’s nothing to get to worked up about.
We had some ice cream and sat on the steps (where I couldn’t tell you) talking about how much we miss our dog. It’s the most talked about point on this trip, our damn dog! We went back to the hostel, showered and started our packing. We catalogued everything so we can declare what is necessary. (What is necessary anyway?)
We had delicious Thai food for dinner, not really an all out celebration to end Europe, but we were so sick of spending so much money. We went to bed late, around midnight and somehow managed to sleep

Posted by s-a 00:43 Archived in Belgium Tagged brussels Comments (0)

Day 89, Bruge

rain 13 °C

Shane wasn’t feeling well this morning, so we lounged around the hostel. Close to 1200 we finally left, but just to walk around. It was pouring down rain, it had been all morning. We bought some more chocolate and looked around for a certain someone’s gift. We’ve been trying to decide for a few weeks now what to get her and every time we see something that fits we chicken out. “Oh, I’m not sure if she’d really like it.” We knew what we wanted to get her, we knew where it was. But this place, it was at a flea market, wasn’t there for the day, because of the rain.
We weren’t impressed! We walked and walked and argued over what to do. Just as we decided to head home we wandered into one last store and found it, the best gift. How’s that for perseverance? We were stoked we’d found something after hours of looking.
We hung out at the hostel for a while longer, eating chocolate and drinking coffee, dreaming about our homecoming. When we were dried out two hours later we decided it was time for dinner. Again we left, into the pouring rain. We were soaked to the bone (a common theme the last week here) when we arrived at our chosen restaurant. It was as stuffy and stinky as a wet dog locked in a bathroom but we stayed. The food was amazing, mussels and fried and a long rack of perfectly tender ribs, with some awesome beers of course and the most perfect chocolate cake.
We went back to the hostel, showered and tried to sleep early, we just want it to be Monday!

Posted by s-a 23:40 Archived in Belgium Tagged bruge Comments (2)

Day 88, Bruge

sunny 26 °C

As previously stated I awoke in a good mood (thank goodness for both of us!) I scurried down stairs as the doors opened and ran to a table with a plug-in. I might not have the stamina for loud music and late nights but I can beat anyone here at getting up early and challenging them first thing in the morning. Shane came down about an hour later and we ate a toast buffet (with this amazing speculoos paste! Why wasn’t this a part of my childhood!?!?!)
We were out the door by 0830, the morning was fresh and bright. We walked around exploring the small city. The contrast between this 600 year old town with 120 000 residents and our 90 000 person town are amazing! When you look at the pictures keep it in mind, there are only 20 000 people living within the scope of my pictures.
We were determined to finish souvenir shopping. It had to get done (don’t worry I love spending money so I love the process, it’s not as hard as I make it sound.) First Shane and I checked out the lace museum, where everything was far to expensive for my amateur tastes. Then I spotted a chocolate shop I actually wanted to visit (there are SO many on these touristy streets.) I did buy too much, they had Dolfin one of our favourite brands. It is Belgian, but you can find it in Canada, if you drive to Vancouver. We continued on. Soon it was time for lunch, we bought a waffle. Unfortunately, contrary to the long line the waffle wasn’t very good. In fact I guarantee I’ve made better.
We bought tickets for a canal tour and waited for our boat. Bruge is certainly more beautiful by canal, even if it was a tourist factory. The guide would talk (thankfully only in two languages!) and point. Whenever his finger pointed the weight in the boat would shift and 15 cameras would click furiously. It was entertaining to say the least. The tour was over in thirty minutes and we walked to the flea market. I found a very cute bell, that one would hang by the door, but since I have no door I will hang it in the backyard and hope that when the wind blows it will chime really loudly and Dean can be highly irritated.
We dropped off these items at home, they were very heavy (sorry Gary!) We made up our minds to do a beer tour. The tour was of a working brewery called De Halve Maan, the half moon. The tour was in English and Dutch, but enjoyable none the less. At the end we enjoyed a complimentary beer in the lounge. Since it was 1700 and we wanted to go for a later dinner we kept an open mind as we walked home. First we stumbled across Dumon, a top quality chocolate shop, where we proceeded to spend a lot more money on chocolate (hey, I’m only in Belgium once!) Then we polished off a portion of fries “to tide us over.”
We spent a few hours blogging and relaxing before we left for dinner. We ate some awesome food for dinner and drank a few great beers. The restaurant we visited had a selection of over 400 beers, as you can imagine the menu was HUGE! The first beer we tried was called Delirium for its whopping 9% alcohol content. After that we moved on to Orval and Omer, both good, though at this point everything was just starting to taste like alcohol to me. With my beer themed menu came a beer infused creme brulee, I am happy to say it is the best brulee I’ve ever had! With dessert we had our final beer, a peach fruit beer. Yum!
With dinner out of the way we quickly moved onto the sleep portion of the evening, which came fast after all that beer.

Posted by s-a 08:55 Archived in Belgium Comments (4)

Day 87, Bruge

rain 13 °C

We woke up early to start the day off. We wanted to be on the train as soon as possible. We ate and packed and got an alternate route to the scenic 35km planned. Shane grabbed his jacket, hanging from the night before. It was still soaked. We wore them anyway, we had no option. The ride wasn’t as bad as the day before, it didn’t rain until the very end. We were back in Appingendam within one hour, which was much faster than we thought. We saw the Albert Heijn and looked at our watches, we had plenty of time.
This AH must have been new, because it was beautiful. For a grocery store. It was totally electronic and everything was so neat and clean. We spent quite a bit of time walking up and down the isles putting items in the basket and taking them back out. We did leave the store with 7 tubes of Dutch mayo however, it was only $1.00 CAD!!!! We rode into town, off balance with bags full of goodies. We stopped for coffee to kill a little more time before we made the last 20 minutes ride home.
We pulled out the kickstands one last time as we dismounted by the garage, sad to see our beautiful bikes go. We rearranged Gary on the floor of the garage and sped down the road to the train station. We made it in time for the 1120 train to Groningen, our last big travel day with Gary. At 1150 we arrived in Groningen and waited in line for a schedule on how to get to Bruge. “Run,” she advised “You’ve got 6 minutes!” We took off (well us and two other people headed the same way) tossing doors open, bags flapping in the wind. We ran and ran fast to our platform, we threw Gary inside as the doors were closing, we had just made it.
The train stopped in Zwolle, we had 20 minutes to transfer and the train didn’t show up. I guess in Dutch they had explained it broke. The train we took instead was a slow in-direct train to Antwerp. We missed our connecting train to Bruge by 10 minutes. We waited 50 minutes for the next train to leave. It left 8 minutes late and in those 8 minutes about 100 people crammed into our car. Our nice comfy seat that Gary could fit in shrunk. Gary got pushed into the aisle. This is never good so Shane went and stood by the door with him for the remaining 80 minutes.
We were relieved when at 1950, 8.5 hours after we started we arrived in Bruge. Except our welcome was not all that warm. It was cold in fact, and rainy. We boarded the bus and got off exactly where we were told to, except we misread the instructions, we read “First street on the left is where the hostel is” And the actual instructions say “First street on the left leads to our hostel.” Damn. In the panic that ensued our misinformation (will we ever learn? I don’t think so) Gary, riding over all the cobblestones lost another wheel. Damn.
When we finally found the hostel I was in quite the mood. The hostel was awful, we definitely saved the best for last. Rather than a 8 bed dorm we had reserved we are in a room that serves as the only entry to another dorm room for 6 people. Do you understand? 6 people have to walk through our room to get to theirs, right by my bed. It was dark and cramped and dingy, and the showers were located through the bar in another building. Internet was only available in the bar and the bar only had 10 tables, all of which were full, of course.
We ditched the packs and left to find dinner. The places we had written down were all closed down for one reason or another, the day was not getting better. We ended up eating fries for dinner, with different sauces. Mushroom for Shane and tartar for me, with a side of curry ketchup (yum!) Thank goodness I slept soundly, Shane didn’t. The room was loud and busy. There was even an argument around 0200 when a girl tried to sleep in a bed in our room that wasn’t hers. The only problem was that she didn’t have a bed to sleep in. Again, thank goodness I slept, I woke up in a much better mood.

Posted by s-a 18:13 Archived in Belgium Tagged bruge Comments (3)

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