Highlight: Walking around Brugge with Katie.
Lowlight: The constant, oppressive rain.
Fun Fact: Belgium has two official languages – French and Flemish (Which is really just Dutch). We visited Brussels (where French is spoken) and Brugge (where Flemish is spoken).
Money spent: €70.25
Ben Frustration Index(BFI): 1
Pairs of clean underwear left: 6
Book Page: 261
Today we commenced Operation Waffle Run and made a run for the France-Belgium border. Since the French celebrate May Day (i.e. Labour Day) religiously and everything shuts down, we thought it best to flee the country. Fortunately, today coincided with the first day of our EuroRail passes, so we hopped a train to Brussels. Unfortunately, the train we needed to take was a high-speed, semi-private Thalys train and we needed to buy reservations, which set us back €22 each. We brought a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread and travelled in style.
The trip to Belgium was really just to add another country to our list. We did sample some of the local delicacies – waffles, chocolate, and french fries. We arrived early in Brussels and the city looked dead. But after walking around the main plaza and finding a waffle cart, jam-packed tour busses started to roll in. We saw the infamous Mannequin Pis – the statue of a little boy relieving himself into a fountain. By lunch, Brussels was getting boring, so we jumped on a train to Brugge.
Brugge is a well-preserved, walled medieval city with cobble-stone streets, castle-like buildings, canals, and windmills. Even though it is more touristed than Brussels, it didn’t seem that touristy, because the tourists were spread out throughout its windy streets.
While waiting for the train to Brugge, Ben struck up a conversation with a lone backpacker from Rhode Island named Katie. Early in trip I was dismayed every time Ben stopped someone to ask a question, but now I realize its more for the opportunity to talk and get to know someone. I’m really glad he talked to Katie. We sat with her on the train and chatted about our trips thus far. It was nice having someone new to talk to. When we arrived in Brugge, we offered to accompany her to her hostel and tour Brugge together. When the time finding her hostel and dropping her bag off started to drag on, I was regretting the decision, but the day turned out for the best and we had a blast.
Brugge was really picturesque, and even though it rained most of the day, I enjoyed it more than London, Paris, or Brussels. I thought it was more charming and unique than anything we’ve seen so far.