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Merry Christmas!!

Bruges has a great main square, but what I enjoyed most was walking around the less populated side streets. It really is like stepping back 500 years. But a little touristy for a small town on the main drags.
Yes, yes, Belgian beer is yummy:)

I also enjoyed my visit to Brugge, especially the bus ride
back to the train station. The driver was a maniac! It
was like she was praticing for an F1 race. I liked it:)
Brugges is a medieval time-warp. In many ways it is more beautiful (say to look at) than Amsterdam BUT... it is not a dynamic living city as is Amsterdam. You get a bit of an "Epcot" feeling while there. That said; it is a great place to visit albiet full of tourists.
LOL i must say i enjoyd that one. and i know how feel about getting lost.
in BO's link bruuges looks alot more beautiful than amsterdam, is that the case?
btw this is the poster somonth.
First, sorry for the delay in finishing this report. Just got back from two weeks in disneyland and vegas. Part of the marriage tax for my NL trip.

After my week in Amsterdam I headed off to Brugge (Bruges) in Belgium.
I packed up and walked back to Centraal Station with my head held high. Much more confident than when I arrived. I wondered if I had done the right thing-I mean, I could have just stayed in Adam the whole 17 days...

Found the international tickets easily ?70.8 for roundtrip to Brugge and back to Haarlem, my next destination. The weather is beautiful and may hit 60 F today. The train rolls on through green flat fields filled with sheep, farms and small towns. There are small waterways everywhere. the conductor tells me to get offf at Antwerp Bergen and take train #6 for Ghent st peter...momentarily stunned but ok. I changed again in Ghent to go to Brugge. My two hour journey turns into 4 hours.

Plenty of time to think and reflect. My normal job and life are intensely busy and filled with people. Board meetings, newsletters, classes, research, long days in the intensive care units. I needed time alone to look at myself without the trappings, titles and roles that I carry around all the time. This trip was perfect for self-examination and something else.

I always wished I could be one of the confident and fearless ones. Alas I am not. I don't lack the courage to try but I must suffer through my fears. On this trip I have faced my fears and myself and in doing so become a stronger person.

In Brugge, you pay ?1 for the bus to the market square. It is impressive, massive and old. The town is an ancient medieval city that slipped into oblivion when the river silted up and stayed that way for 600 years until is was rediscovered. Normally, this place is obscenely busy with tourists, but was almost a ghost town during my stay. I walk easily to Ridderstraat 9 where Paul and Roos Gheereart-Vandevelde have their B and B in a 1600's house they restored. It is truly grand and spacious with 20 foot ceilings, spiral staircases. All for 45?. I drop off my bag and walk back to the square where I sit sipping espresso listening to the bells of the great tower while the town is lit up by the evening glow.

By the way, before I left, I asked a lot of people about smoking in Belgium. Everyone assured me it would be no problem to cross the border and just be discreet while I was there. This was true. No borders or customs in this part of the new europe. I couldn't smoke in my spacious, superb room so I rolled up some "Purple" into a cigarette and smoked while I walked. The streets were empty. I found the restaurant my host recommended down by the fish market. If you've never had moules and frites with dark beer...well. The mussels were at least a kilo! steamed in onions, garlic, and beer. The Leffe dark draft was so tasty as I washed down succulent mussels and crisp fries. It came with a pot of herbed cream sauce for dipping. Turns out this was the first crop of the new mussels. Unbelievable.

Breakfast the next day was also a treat. Much better than at the hotel in Adam. For one thing, a large pot of chocolate the consistency of peanut butter was on the table and we spread it on the luscious homemade breads. Any country that eats chocolate for breakfast...and of course the people speak french as well as english and dutch so I got to tune up my rusty language skills.

Highlights-canal cruise-very different than amsterdam, small boat, personal. Small gorgeous museums and churches and the great tower with 366 steps to climb. The tower has bells and a carillon. Drivers and bikers are totally courteous and watchful for pedestrians. Brugge is also famous for chocolates (Godiva is a pale, cheap, machine made ghost of the real stuff). I bought everthing at Dumon, even better than Puccini in Adam.
I also bought lace, a doll for my daughter, and other little goodies. Only 20,000 people live in this idyllic town and most are over 60 years of age. The kids all go off to Brussells. This is the same where I live, believe it or not. All the kids want to get off the rock and out of Hawaii because it is so backwards compared to LA or SF!

I had a great time smoking it in Brugge. I had purple, summerwind, malani hash. I walked the streets and after 9 pm it was eerily empty and medieval to boot. November 7, I am up early to pack and head back to Haarlem. I was reluctant to come here at first, now reluctant to leave. It is superb, peaceful, and filled with glorious art, canals, chocolate and friendly people.

Of course I did manage to get lost on the way back to the NL! I am so gifted in this area. I "knew", but wasn't sure and forgot where the belgium ends and the nl trains begin. The conductor looks at me ashamed. "Tsk, tsk he says. You should have got off in den hague". I kind of understood but asked him to repeat in english. He looks like he has indigestion. I tell him I am truly sorry but what should I do now. Mr. conductor says "go to centraal station and come back to haarlem. sppor 2a" and off he goes. Ok, so it took a little longer. I wonder if the malani hash had anything to do with this?

El Professore,

Brugge sounds delightful. I love small out of the way places. One can get a real feel for the country. Belgian beer and chocolate. My perfect breakfast.
I appreciate your writing and your honesty about getting lost and such.

Thanks, Pro.

Great report Professor, Little bit short to my likes though, I love the long trip reports, Brugge is now on my to do list for next time :-)
tnx a lot
Here's a taste of Bruuges: http://www.europebyphoto.com/brugge-tour.html
Thirty-one hours and counting until I touch down at Schipol.

I'll certainly be having a merry christmas. Hope you all do too.
Cool Yule, you lucky bastard!
hope you have fun m8t.......and happy xmas
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