27 June 2012 Wednesday | 22:55 | 2012/06 Europe
A four-hour coach ride took us from Amsterdam to Bruges. Excellent weather we had there. It was sunny and windy at the same time. I’ll remember 05.06.2012 as a day where I felt severely dehydrated. And I was a little disconnected as the Blackberry data roaming service wasn’t available in Belgium.
Markt – Market Square of Bruges
Following a €0.30 toilet visit just outside the city perimeters (the cheapest throughout my three-week stay), we entered the historical city of Bruges. Two-storey houses line the quiet residential area leading to an explosion of tourists in the Markt. In lieu of motorised vehicles, horse drawn carriages ply the roads. It is easy to avoid being trampled on, since you often get a whiff of waste matter before you hear the distinct clicking of horseshoes.
The Belfry of Bruges
Fettuccine with pesto and prawns.
Restaurant Recommendation: Aquarel
Simon Stevinplein 2, Bruges 8000, Belgium
Restaurants and cafés line the Markt, where it is perfect for people watching. We chose instead to venture away from the city centre where prices are slightly lower. I like the cheerful staff from Aquarel, and the generous portion of prawns they gave me.
Walking through the charming city, I chatted extensively with my tour managers and passengers. I relish the experience of talking to people from all walks of life. And it felt like a holiday all right. You eat, walk, talk and make new friends, all without the distraction of your daily routines. Lovely.
The Atomium, built in 1958.
We entered Brussels before dinner. It’s more than just the capital of Belgium. With the European Commission and the Council of the European Union situated there, it is one of three, and possibly the most important, political centre of the European Union.
Grote Markt (Grand Place).
Brussels Town Hall.
Plenty of gold on the guildhalls.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert－oldest shopping mall in the world.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
With the passengers of Bus 2.
Belgium gave the world Tintin, Smurfs, and so much more.
Every single shop claims they sell the best waffles and chocolate. This was good.
Mussels. Rhyme with Brussels.
And some paella.
You don’t leave Brussels without a picture of this bronze fountain. It’s like going to Copenhagen and ignoring the Little Mermaid. There are various legends, all involving a boy peeing at the most critical time, including urinating on enemy troops which was eventually defeated in a battle, passing water on gunpowder and thus saving the city, and putting out a fire with his urine. I like the fact that the Manneken Pis represents a cheeky and rebellious spirit, and the refusal to conform.