Sunday, June 29, 2014

In Bruges (not the movie)

Where better to go after the hustle and bustle of big city Paris, than the tiny, historical Bruges?
I know, we couldn't think of anywhere else, either, so off we went!
In Bruges

There were four of us travelling: Naomi, her mum, her mum's friend (here-after referred to as "Friend") and I.
We had, following the advice of Friend, who had been to Bruges some years ago, booked only one night's accommodation, so when we arrived on the train before lunchtime, it meant we only really had that half a day to explore, so we dumped our bags at the hotel and set off.
Our hotel

Bruges is lovely. It's got a bunch of canals and old buildings. It's peaceful and not too touristy. Yes, there were tourists, but after Paris, it felt like a sleepy little town.
In a good way.

The hotel was right next to one of the canals, which was an interesting shade of green. After Varanasi, any water not brown looks pretty good..
Not the Ganges
We found a hidden, but open to the public, garden close to the hotel, and admired the flowers for a few minutes before continuing on.

Naomi took the opportunity to practise what she learnt in India/Nepal - "natural toilet":

Of course, I'm only kidding!

We walked around town and saw all the main spots, as far as we can tell, as Bruges is quite small (as complained about in "In Bruges" the movie)
The belfry, which we admired from outside:
Mum, Naomi and Friend
We saw lots of nice old buildings as we walked around..

Some of us were distracted by the Belgian chocolate shops the are scattered around the city..
... how anyone can be bored when there's so much deliciousness around is beyond my comprehension!

I've been sceptical of the idea of a "balanced diet" for a while, but it turns out I was just misunderstanding the idea:
Now I get it!!

Naomi and I went to the Historium, which they describe as "... an experience attraction. You will step through lifelike sets in which film, music and special effects combine to create a magical experience."
This guy works tirelessly to bring visitors in to Historium
We didn't take photos during the "experience", which was pretty cool, but at the end, there's a couple of rooms and a balcony with a nice view of the town square, so here are some pics from those:
Aaaamazing!!!
Naomi puts herself in the picture

Later, we finally sampled some chocolate!
I wanted to buy several kilos, but managed to restrain myself a little..
They were all delicious!!!

We'd spotted a poster for a light show which coincided with our visit, so we had all decided to check it out.
We were hoping for something like the Vivid festival in Sydney, but on a smaller, Bruge-scale.

While waiting for the daylight to fade (it's summer, so days here are really long, so the show was scheduled to start at 22:30), we had dinner and went on a horse-cart ride around the city.
Our trusty steed
Ridin'..

Eventually, the scheduled start time came...

...and went...

We waited.

And waited some more..

Finally, there was a slight blue glow and some ocean noises over the speakers. Sounded like one of those new-age meditation tapes that tune your chakras or somesuch..

We waited for the fancy show to really start..

And waited... the blue stuff became very slightly more visible, as more daylight faded.

It was cold out! We were growing impatient for the show to actually start.

I kept saying to "Give it a few more minutes", but eventually it dawned on me that this was the show...
Worst. Show. Ever.
We left, and on the way home saw a much more impressive light show, without to pretentious soundtrack and wave effects (water on a mirror used for projection):

And so we wrapped up a busy afternoon/evening in Bruges.
The next day, it was time to go to Amsterdam!