28 September, 2013

Bruges: 14 to 15 September, 2013

In Bruges

Belgium! The land of chocolates and fries and beer!

Going to Belgium from Lille is cheaper than going to Paris, so why not?! In fact, I can drive to the Belgian border from Roubaix in 15 minutes! I went to Bruges for the weekend with my fellow Lasallian exchange students. I don’t get to see them a lot, because they live in Lille (in a really nice apartment). 

We were on the same train as my friends from ESPEME, Jin He and Bianca, who were going to Ghent

We stayed at a hostel (my first time at a hostel, interesting experience :P ), and we arrived way before check-in time, so we decided to do the walking tour that was advertised by the hostel. Our guide was a Belgian (duh) with a cool Scottish accent. [Side note-- Belgians have three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. Most of them speak really good English, too, though some might speak with a Borat accent ;) ]

It was an 'In Bruges' city tour (for the awesome movie, of course), but only two of us in the group actually saw the movie. Haha! Our guide pointed out the streets where some scenes were shot and whatnot. He was really funny and gave us some tips about touring Bruges: only tourists eat Belgian waffles, there are two french fries stalls in front of the Belfry tower and the one on the left has good fries while the one on the right has bad fries, don't buy the expensive Praline chocolates and just buy Côte d'Or bars from the supermarket.

My tour group and our awesome tour guide (the one kneeling down)

The Lasallians [L-R]: Tiffany, Paolo, Me, Katrina, Mikha, Andre

The Burg, the public square in Bruges

The old Civil Registry (that gold is real, apparently)

Stadhuis (Town Hall)

Also in the Burg, the Basilica of the Holy Blood

We went inside to check out the Blood of Christ, which was brought back from the Crusades

Bruges is sometimes called "Venice of the North," with its gorgeous canals

The main attraction at the Markt, the Belfry tower

Also at the Markt: the world's first stock exchange (opened in the 1300s)

The only sculpture of Michelagelo that left Italy (during his lifetime), Madonna of Bruges, housed by the Church of Our Lady

The walking tour only lasted about two hours, so good thing we picked up these really cool maps at the hostel which told you not only where the sightseeing spots were, but also where to get fries (very important), where the grocery stores, bars, hostels were, etc. They had funny and helpful comments about every spot and random Dutch phrases, which I liked a lot :) I hoarded and got a map for Antwerp too, just in case. 

Awesome map is awesome (also, check out my clean floor!)

Had dinner at this restaurant, this is beef stew cooked with beer, because we were in Belgium! Haha

Bruges at night, so romantic :)
The next day I woke up really early, so I decided to take a morning stroll by myself and went to Minnewater Park and took some pictures. The swans and the scenery were very chill to see.

 When everyone woke up, I brought them with me to the park.

And now, a section on Belgian treats:

Chocolate Pills at The Chocolate Line, I disobeyed our tour guide and got myself a chocolate bar from that store

Côte d'Or, which my Filipino friends hoarded. Haha!

Of course, we had to try the waffles

The chocolate was so warm and thick and chocolatey <3

The funny french fries man who claimed to be an Abercrombie & Fitch model. He mans the stall at the left side of the Belfry tower (we avoided the one on the right like the plague)

Belgian fries are the best. Period. These have beef stew on top with mayo
I can write a whole essay about Belgian fries. They really are really good!! Apparently, "french fries" originated from Belgium :P When American soldiers came to Belgium in WWI, they thought the fries they tasted were French because the official language of the Belgian Army at that time was French. Haha! Our guide told us that the reason why the fries in Belgium are so good is because the soil is different....hmm....

I was pretty sad that I wasn't able to drink Belgian beer, but I'm sure I'm going back to Belgium very soon!!!!

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