Embarassing stories and the beginning of my love affair with Belgian beer

Brugge Travel Blog

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Tower of Our Lady's Church by night

We set off for Belgium today, and made it to Bruge. The brochure made it sound a bit dull, but I couldn't have been more wrong in my thoughts! This beautiful city was established in the 1100's and was built on wool and spice industry, only later becoming famous for lace and chocolate. (And of course beer) With tons of canals, it's sometimes referred to as "The Venice of the North." Thank goodness I brought lots of layers, because this city was frigid! And being a native Californian, I reserve that word for the really, really icy-i can't-stand-this type of cold. No worries though, we had beer to look forward to after our night tour. The guide was very knowledgable and let us in on all the secrets of this city and its monestaries. I thought one of the coolest things was that "hospitals" as we know them today were originated in these areas with the word hospital meaning more of hospitality and were places where people came healthy and got sick, not the other way around.

In the hotel bar before drinks
Weary travelors and religious people could stay here for no charge. The only problem was the hygeine. A bed sheet was lucky to be washed just once a year. (I think my little brother only washes his twice a year...though he seems fine to me) You can only imagine what this lead to!

As interesting as the tour was, the real party was yet to begin, and we were all more than happy to head back to our hotel bar, which was warm, welcoming, and most importantly, filled with delicious Belgian beers, many of which were brewed in the nearby areas. We spent the next several hours (til about 3 AM) getting drunk and bonding over several games of Never Have I Ever. If you haven't every played this, you're missing out. I learned maybe a bit too much personal information about my new friends, some cool, and some downright embarassing.

You really can't beat the bonding that comes from embarassment though, right? Laurian, my roommate, had never had a sip of alcohol in her life. We had her take her first shot. Man was that a terrible idea! While she was fine that night, this girl went from ridiculously shy and "good girl" to "oh no, you'll never guess what Laurian did while she was drunk last night" over the next four months...

Practical Info:

  • Getting there: Trains from Brussels, Antwerp, (about 1 hour travel time) and Ghent (30 minutes) arrive about every half hour or so, and you can also get there from the ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge (15 minutes)
  • Station info: The station is called Stationsplein and is located about 1 mile south of the town.
    Any bus labeled Centrum will get you to the center of town, or it's just a short 20 minute walk
  • Tourist info: Main tourist office is at In & Uit Brugge, Concertgebouw, 't Zand 34, 8000 Brugge (050/44-46-46), which is inside the Concert Hall between the train station and the middle of town and is open daily from 10AM-6PM-beware that this is a sleepy town; things close early! More info at www.brugge.be
  • Getting around: There are two main squares called Markt and Burg from which streets branch out. The center of Brugge is surrounded by a canal that opens on its southern end into a lake filled with swans, called Minnewater, which literally means "lake of love"-you can easily rent bikes from the train station for 9 Euros a day, or from some hotels (more expensive), but walking is probably the easiest way to get around this fairly small town covered in cobblestones. You can catch a De Lijn bus from the square of 't Zand just west of Markt, or right outside of the train station
  • Have fun, eat lots of chocolate, and bring a sweater-it's cooolld here!
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Tower of Our Ladys Church by night
Tower of Our Lady's Church by night
In the hotel bar before drinks
In the hotel bar before drinks
Melissa being..Melissa
Melissa being..Melissa
Belgium has some of the best beer …
Belgium has some of the best beer…
Laurians first shot...uh-oh!
Laurian's first shot...uh-oh!
photo by: Chokk