Day 42: Monday November 21st, 2011
The next morning was pretty rough, due to the hangover and the fact that I was back to being alone on the road again. Oh well. I adapt. Wait for this segway…
Because my netbook was UK, and my universal adaptor was tailored toward US plugs, I needed to get another universal adaptor. So I should be good for awhile on adaptors. Adaptors. Adaptors.
Anyways, I haven’t really talked much about Bruges aside from beer and its romantic streets and canals. Due to its port and location, Bruges used to be a major commercial city. Today, the city itself is a UNESCO heritage site and basically everyone knows it by the movie In Bruges (which is fantastic if you somehow haven’t seen it; it played on a loop at my hostel). That kind of publicity isn’t a bad thing, and it’s a great way to introduce yourself to the city, but you gotta see it in person. The medieval architecture is intact and so are some of its walls, and you simply feel secluded and safe there. It’s also a small and manageable city by foot, something I love, since I hate paying for public transportation. Bruges is adorable, especially without all the tourists of summer.
That said, Bruges is a fucker to get around. I got lost constantly, and never was heading in the right direction the first time. Bruges and many other smaller European cities don’t have signs to landmarks, they just have signs to hotels. Not very helpful.
In the morning, I stumble upon a Rick Steves recommended chocolate joint, Confiscerie de Clerk. It was a kid’s wet dream (if they could have those) in this shabby toys and chocolate menagerie laden shop. I got a gummy frog and 100 grams of delicious chocolate from a delightful old man. That’s a good breakfast.
I have lunch at Pas Partout, where water is free and flemish stew was thick, hearty (Rick Steves’ favorite word) and delicious. Be prepared to share a cramped table with strangers, but that’s Europe. And of course, whether you like it or not, the stew was served with fries. Every meal is served with fries. From England, to Scotland, to Ireland, Amsterdam and Belgium. They love chips/fries. It’s frustrating, because their salads aren’t great either (and are pricey) and you can rarely substitute for them like in America. What’s more, I hate wasting food, especially when I’m on a tight budget, so it forces me to eat every last one of them. I think I’m the only one who would complain about too many fries, but clearly I don’t need more bad food in addition to my night outs. People talk about how unhealthy American diets are, and it’s true, but you have to go for fast food and fries, but it’s inescapable in parts of Europe. That said, portions are definitely bigger in America, for better or worse.
Everyone knows English so far, but it doesn’t keep me from feeling like an asshole. This is the first of about 5,700 times that I resolve to learn a different language. Or three. It wouldn’t be the last time I felt like an asshole for not knowing the language. Just wait for France. Spain. Italy. Germany. Okay, everywhere.
I kind of mope for a bit, I fail to find a dinner I want, because again, everywhere is closed (my only big negative about Bruges, but that’s winter time in Europe for you). I buy two apples and go back to the internet to figure out my foray into France tomorrow.
I’ve had a busy and beer soaked past few days, so I make it an early night, and my body thanks me.
Next: The city of love.