Yesterday we came to Bruges, but it was almost not to be. We got up bright and early on January 1. We got to the train station on time. After a leisurely breakfast of tea and croissants we made our way to the gate for the Eurostar trains.
Isn’t St. Pancras Train station gorgeous?
Security was like how it used to be in airports before 2001. Normal. Then suddenly we realized we only had 13 minutes to spare and the line was ridiculously long! We barely made the train.
Eurostar was amazing. It goes so fast the pressure changes and your ears pop. We read/slept relaxed with Gary and Lynelle. Then Brussels. We decided to skip the next train and go on to the square in Brussels for lunch. Lunch was at this cozy restaurant, where the building was older than the USA, the fire was roaring, and the atmosphere inviting. Lunch reminded me how absolutely divine the bread is in Europe. After a quick tour of the square we hustled back to the station, hopped onto the train and settled in waiting for Bruges; that is, until the ticket master came by and informed us our tickets were not for this class of train! Luckily he was one of the two nicest men of the day and just let us sit on.
Bruges is the land of cheap cabs. The trip to our Hotel was only 8. Excitement was in the air when we walked up to Hotel Asiris. I pressed the door bell and a middle aged woman answered. Tompaul explained we had a booking, which she promptly informed us we did not. I whipped out my iPad to show her. She lookd at the email and said “I’ll be right back.” Lynelle and Gary waited in the antechamber. Then a man about 6’6” came down the stairs and immediately started railing at us. “How could we expect a room.” “That email wasn’t confirmation from the hotel, it was confirmation from the booking website letting us know they had gotten it. And of course we ignored it because EVERYBODY knows you can’t book on January 1.” “How could you assume?” And when Tompaul tried to figure out how he’d misunderstood by reading aloud the two sentences he’d written the hotel when he (thought he’d) made the reservation back on Sept. 24, he snapped (this one is my favorite), “I can speak English, I’m not stupid.”
About to cry (and deep down inside I wanted to scream “If I wanted rude people I would have gone to Paris”) I finally got a word in, “Well could you give us advice?”
Tall angry man replied, “Go somewhere else. Everywhere is probably booked. Maybe across the street.”
Dejected we crossed the street to Hotel Jacobs. This is where we met the second nicest man of the day, Johan. “Well, I’m afraid I don’t have much,” he said, as he only had 1 room for 2 and 1 room for 4, but tomorrow we could have any room we wanted. We gladly took the “family room” for four. Johan gave us a map, advice where the tourist traps were (like where NOT to eat and buy chocolate). We ate in the hotel restaurant for dinner. Tompaul and Lynelle ordered ravioli with cheese. Gary and myself ordered the homemade pasta with wild mushrooms. Crème Brule all around for desert. It was a good end to a day I wasn’t sure we would get to Bruges.
Here are some pictures from our first day in Bruges.
Tompaul taking pictures of the canal. I love the canal mirroring…
Two of the oldest buildings. The first is the door to the left and upwards. The building is NOT wider than the door.
The square with fabulous Tompaul, Gary and Lynelle.
Gary took a wibbly, wobbly picture of Lynelle, Me and Tompaul and the square.
Famous Bell Tower.