The Grand Arche of La Defense
There is always a bad day on one of these trips, and today is hopefully that day. I hated leaving Paris. We were there for a long time and it was nice to be unpacked and settled for 5 whole nights. I absolutely love Paris, the ultra high fashion older women, the puppeteers on the Metro at 11 o clock at night, and leaving for an unknown was hard. My last day in Paris, I did the quickest tour of the Grande Arche ever attempted, 10 minutes and then went to Versailles. My dad and I got in a fight about Versailles when I was in Paris with him. I didn't want to go back to see the velvet and silk salons. I still feel that way. I spent most of my time in the gardens finding Marie Antoineet's farm house village where she could be a pretend peasant. I bought my dad the Versailles visitor guide.
Loading wood in Marie Antoinette's farmhouse village.
I now feel more guilty about that fight. Happy Father's Day, I love you, Dad. My last night in Paris, I went to a Cuban place with a great band and great mojitos and ate very well, except for one croquette which seemed a little raw, so I spit it out, but it worried me a bit. It was a fun night though.
The drive to Brugge
is only about 4 hours. Our bus driver is from Belgium, so he knows these roads well. Unfortunately, my stomach started rumbling before I left the hotel, but all seemed okay. As we drove out of Paris past the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Couer, I felt worse. It wasn’t terrible though, and when we stopped for lunch in Belgium, the shit literally hit the fan. Thank God for nice northern European sit down toilets. According to Joel it was only about an hour to Brugge. He was excited because he was going to get to drive by his house and see his wife. It was very sweet, she was waiting outside for us, and waved and smiled. He is staying at home with her while we are here, as it is only 30 minutes away. Unfortunately, the roads between his town and Brugge are under construction and we had to take some detours, but we made it into Brugge in about an hour. I checked us into the hotel, but my room wasn’t ready as we were there before check-in time. I really needed a room. Fortunately, the room that was reserved for Joel was ready. So I had a place to go. When I went back down to check on dinner, I found out that there was no dinner reserved. That is a big problem. I called Jason, who was also facing problems, he and Ann are in Barcelona with their group, and apparently their bus has gone missing. I got the go ahead to use the p-card and spend 20 backs a person for dinner. I asked what the hotel could do on short notice for 48 people, the answer was fish. That was a problem, so I went next door to the hotel that shares this square and managed to get soup, a chicken dish, and chocolate mousse for 20 bucks a head. When I type it, it seems sort of easy, but it was sort of an ordeal.
This hotel isn’t airconditioned and its hot again in Belgium, in the 80s. My room is hot and I am sweaty. I decided to go into town and get my mom’s Christmas ornament order in. I found the store she wanted and got what she was looking for. Then I found H&M and had my personal retail therapy, its nice to have some new clothes, I have been wearing the same jeans and shirts for almost a month, I love my new clothes. Brugge is absolutlely gorgeous, like a medieval Disney created place, but with really good shopping, great fries, chocolate and beer. I went back to the hotel and got my real room and moved in.
I had a few hours before dinner, so I decided to sort through my souvenirs. There are a lot of them. The only thing I found missing, is the bathing suit I bought in Venice, that I loved. I have gone through everything, but no luck. It makes me very sad that its gone, even though in Italian sizing I am an extra large. The Italians always make the Americans feel fat. I am hoping it will miraculously turn up.
Dinner was at 8, and so we gathered the troops and headed next door. The US was playing Italy at 9, and so people kept asking me if they could leave early to be in front of a TV to watch the game. Approximately, every 2 minutes some one would come up to me and ask when they could leave. I repeatedly told them yes, but they had to eat the dinner, wait for the professor’s announcements, and then they could go. Some of them were already drunk in preparation for the game, which was not helping them understand the situation. We had announcements at 8:45 and they had 10 minutes to find a tv, plenty of time for Brugge. It pissed me off, that after all that I did to get them fed, no one said thank you and just wanted to leave. Finally, after desert, a couple people came up and said thanks for finding us dinner. It made my day.
I am now in my room, planning my journey to Brussels
tomorrow, I’m taking the train in the morning and going to see the Atomium, Grand Place, Mannekin Pis, and the Eu headquarters. It will be nice to have a little get away for a few hours. I also plan on having my mussels, fries, beer, and chocolate. There should be some new pictures tomorrow, on what will hopefully be a great day.