Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Bruges #1

Mr A and I are installed in our new Bruges-based residence for the week, sitting at the small dining table opposite one another, each tapping away on our laptop PCs. We really have fun on our holidays.

The journey over was uneventful. I enjoyed it, but Mr A prefers to be in control, and thinks we could have driven in the same sort of time. I liked the train terminal far more than any airport or ferry, the ability to read the paper undisturbed, looking out of the train window, comparing Belgian wildlife with the UK (more horses in Belgium but vegetation not discernably different) and commenting on the potential for making my fortune selling trampolines to the Belgians, because they didn't seem to have any in their back gardens. Then I saw three, including a green one - I previously believed the species only came in blue.

Mr A relaxing with a bookThe lady who's renting us the house came to pick us up from the station, which was very welcome. After the business of rental was complete we went round the corner to have omelettes and salad and a small beer, sitting outside in the occasional sunshine, at a little bar/cafe a stone's throw from a huge windmill and the canal that circles the town. Then we walked some way through the quaint, cobbled streets to buy some groceries.

The combination of sun, beer, and a very early start meant that I slept for two hours in the afternoon, and woke up feeling very much like a prune.

Canalside house with roses around the windowsDay 2 was orientation. We didn't get up very early, and then walked into the town just to get the feel of the place. I was slathered in waterproof sun protection, but the waterproofing was tested a little further than the sun protection by the huge thunderstorm. We sought refuge in a cafe and were served some lunch by a scowling waitress. The next rainstorm sent us into a very nice church. In between the rain we saw a lot of central Bruges, which is incredibly picturesque. Every time you turn a corner, there is another wonderful building, or canal view, or a gothic church. No two houses are the same, and the variety of front doors is incredible.

The main tourist squares and shopping streets are busy. Not busy like London, but busy like Leamington Spa. Away from these areas, and not far away, maybe just one street away, there isn't a soul. The roads are deserted except for a solitary cyclist every now and then. The house we are renting is close to the encircling canal and ring road, a short walk from the centre, and it is incredibly quiet. It suits us very well, especially with the conservatory and outside area to sit when it is sunny. When I started this update, Mr A was reading in the same spot as yesterday, but now he is asleep.

View of canal, houses and the Belfort

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