Our oh-so-cute hotel.
While looking at a map while planning our backpacking trip (only about 2 months before), I noticed that Belgium was conveniently located between France and Amsterdam. Also, the Eurail pass groups it into "one country" (Eurail users will understand this) along with Amsterdam and Luxembourg. As I was already passing through Belgium to go from Paris to Amsterdam (one cannot forget to go to Amsterdam) and probably passing through it again to take some cheap flight from Paris or Brussels
to go to Rome, I thought it would be a good idea to have a small pied-à-terre there. After speaking to many travellers (including my mom's friend), we decided to sta in Brugge
For those who don't know, Brugge is a medieval town near the North Sea. It has canals (that are not drained and renewd like those in Amsterdam, by the way), that connects it to the sea. It's a part of the Wolrd Heritage program (or something like that), which means that it's valued and protected for its historic nature. We stayed at the Hotel "Flats" Leopold, which I think we found on www.hostelbookers.com. It's a lovely 2 star hotel, right across the street to the (HUGE) tourist information center. The tourist center is an eyeswore, but easy to see through the parc from the train station, which is only about 300 feet away. My lovely boyfriend and I were quite confused at first, because the address led to a bar that was called Leopold. But soon after, we realised that we just had to take the alley in the back of it to access the back and top floors, where they rented rooms.
Brown Sugar, where we bought our chocolate.
A big dog came to greet us, which was no problem at all, since I had begun to miss my dog and other cirtters weeks ago. A very friendly Belgian lady took us in and we instanly were enchanted by the quaint, homey atmosphere. After climbing about 50+ steps of a very narrow, spiral staircase, we unlocked the door to our "family-size" bedroom. We didn't mind the extra room. After that we pretty much just changed (or maybe not even) and headed out down Steenstratt (forgive my spelling), which led us to the ever-so-popular Groet Markt (Main Square). The shopping was surprisingly good, although I was just anxious to feast on some quintessential Belgian supper. We chose "De Hobbit", inspire by the medieval surroundings I gather. It tooks us a while to find it, but the restauraunt (facing the Tolkien house, yes.
Church of Out Lady (HUGE).
..) was really charming. When we got there, my boyfriend tried asking the hostess how she was, after she asked him, and they replied with some snicker, which actually really pissed us off. We then realised that people in Brugge genuinely dislike tourists. I don't blame them: they are everywhere! It's like the entire town is now built for tourists... which was sortof what we hoped to avoid. Even the wildlife was tamed, their wings snipped and caged, it was all fake. The chocolate was yummy though, but we found one chocolate shop "Leonidas", which had long ago made its way to Côte-des-Neiges, a street in Montréal. Basically, I was a bit disspointed with Brugge. Even our very short visit to Brussels was unpleasant, where I was yelled at by a controlleur de train, for no reason whatsoever. Maybe it was bad timing, or maybe my sensitivity towards animals... or maybe I was just so damn anxious to get to Rome!