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.