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Brugge, Belgium

Brugge is a small historic town full of medieval buildings. we reached d train station ard 6pm and our host for Brugge, Anouchka picked us up at d train station.

she told us d walk to her place is about 20min. on a normal day, that would be fine. but with more than 20kg worth of bags on each of us, that is tooo long! we took more than 30 mins cos we were walking so slowly fr d bags. we are however, glad to know she lives in a small house (we dont have to climb any stairs to get in!!). our couch is an air mattress in a separate room on d 1st floor (which is level 2 for us). 1 of us can also slp in d living room couch on d ground floor if we prefer. i took d room upstairs. eve wants to take d living rm (so she can be close to d computer n tv n avoid d stairs! haha). d stairs is a bit hazardous. it's small n steep steps can be rather dangerous esp in d night.

we had a quick n simple dinner of toasted ham n cheese sandwich courtesy of our kind host. after dinner, we took a quick walk and to see d town at night. it's really quiet as all shops/attractions closed by 5 or 6pm but the yellow/orange lights really compliments the old Stone buildings/structures. we went back, looking forward to see the town in daylight.

permalink written by  wangyng on April 6, 2008 from Brugge, Belgium
from the travel blog: Hello Europe!!
tagged Belgium and Brugge

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Brugge to Antwerp

Antwerp, Belgium

since we r taking an evening train to Antwerp, we made good use of our last day in Brugge. my butt hurts so much from the cycling! all the roads in Brugge are brick roads. so u can imagine the bumpy ride the whole time in Brugge. i think all the people in Brugge who cycle regularly have butts of steel!!!

we still have our bikes til 5pm so we went around on it as much as we didnt. but it's much faster and saves us a lot of time. anyway, there's a market every wednesday at d Grote Markt so it was nice to be able to catch that b4 we leave. it's a fresh food n flowers market so it smells really good there! i bought a nice roast chicken leg for dinner... was sooo happy! i love roast chicken n havent had a chance to eat that since i got to Europe. so i was extremely happy n so looking forward to dinner!

we then head to Groeninge Museum, where it's full of Flemish paintings. d paintings are nice to look at but i think i would appreciate it a lot more if i do fine arts.

then it's off to Church of Our Lady which is just nearby to see d infamous 'Madonna & Child' sculpture/statue done by d great Michelangelo. d precious statue is surrounded by glass panels to protect it. we couldnt really get a close look at it cos there was like 2 metres of space from where we can stand and d statue. but i guess that is enough?

we ran off quickly to Heilig-Bloedbasiliek, where d blood of Jesus Christ (Holy Blood) was left in a scroll/capsule like thing. d Holy Blood is only on display each day from 2-3pm. a priest will hold the blood in his hand n every1 who wants to can go touch d scroll/capsule n be blessed.

we return the bikes (finally!!!! no more bumpy ride n painful butts!!) and head to the Grote Markt area once again for a mussels lunch. hmmm.... i like d mussels in Brussels better. maybe we picked a bad restaurant.

after lunch, we walked around a bit more before heading home. we passed by this big ice cream shop with long queues so we decided to join d queue! d ice cream is really yummy n d wafer cone taste so fresh n nice! happy n satisfied, we head home to pack n get ready for Antwerp.

[fast forward]
after about 1.5 hrs on d train, we got to Antwerp. our host Yuri met us at d train station. he lives 5 min walk away from the Centraal station n on d top floor of d 5-storey building. he is really into Asian stuff so we had lots to chat about. he has been practising Taichi for 6 yrs so i can ask him almost everything about it! he also likes Asian films n had watched quite a number. we feel like we're in Asia! we spent d night talking about films n drinking tea n talking about what we do (did) for work. feels like a great start for Antwerp!

permalink written by  wangyng on April 9, 2008 from Antwerp, Belgium
from the travel blog: Hello Europe!!
tagged Belgium, Brugge and Antwerp

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Brugge part 2

Brugge, Belgium

it's day 13 on d trip.

both of us didnt slp well cos it was soooo cold! d heater went off automatically and we didnt know how to switch it on. so we had to endure d cold for d night.

after breakfast, we head to d Belfort. we each got a Cyclo3 ticket which gets us into 3 museums (including d Belfort), 1 day of bicycle n a free drink at 1 of d museum. there's 366 steps to get to d top of Belfort where we can get a paranoma view of d town. d steps were narrow and steep and it goes round a pole. as we gets closer to d top, d stairsway gets narrower.

i thot i was gonna pass out n die many times during d climb (yes i need to exercise a lot more than i did)! having ppl going up n down d narrow stairs makes it even more challenging than it already is!

when i finally reached d top (yeah! i actually did it without passing out!!), d view makes it all worth it! it's d highest point in d city and u can really see d whole town from there. did i 4get to mention that there's 16 bells of different sizes (for different tones) at d top of d belfort which make musical chimes each hour. it was playing when i was near d top. i can actually see d mechanics that makes d bells work. pretty impressive that the bells have produced music since d a few centuries ago.

we didnt do very much as it was already pretty late and we were quite tired from d climbing (weak, i know!!). so we just went to check up on trains to Antwerp, went to d supermarket, had a very cheap dinner coffee + soup n bread, then head back. we chatted with Anouchka and watched her favourite show, the Australian "Home & Away", with her. i cant believe i'm watching Australian soap in Belgium!! i dont even watch it in Australia! we went to bed, after finding out how to switch on the heater. so no more cold night! yippie!!!!!!

permalink written by  wangyng on April 7, 2008 from Brugge, Belgium
from the travel blog: Hello Europe!!
tagged Belgium and Brugge

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Brugge - Day trip to Damme

Brugge, Belgium

day 14

it's a beautiful day today so we made use of our Cyclo3 ticket and took a bike out. we cycled to Damme, a small little town next to Brugge. it should take just over an hour to cycle there as it was pretty easy route. we just need to follow d canal n d cycle path. d road was pretty flat most of d time so it wasnt so tiring cycling there.

d road to Damme was beautiful! u can see trees, grass, wild flowers, n little houses along d canal n of cos beautiful reflections of d clear blue sky!! the ride was mostly enjoyable, except for d swarm of flies on n off annoying me.

Damme's known for their pancakes so how could we miss out on that!! we started looking for a nice cafe/restaurant to have pancakes once we got there (ard 2pm). as we were looking at d menu at 1 of d cafes, this cute boy came out n started speaking to us in English. we decided on this restaurant n sat outside d patio so we can be in d sun (unbelievable i know! in Singapore we usually run away from d sun!!). d young boy say he will inform us when he is making d pancake so we can see how he makes it. we decided to move indoor as some roadwork was going on n it was quite noisy. we went in just in time to see him making d pancakes. his quick moves tells us that he is an old hand at that. i ordered a pancake with ice cream n some kind of sweet alcohol. d ice cream was wrapped in d pancake and with alcohol poured on it. d pancake was flaming when it's served so it looked really cool! it tasted really yummy too!

we headed off after d pancake cos we wanted to try to visit a museum b4 it closes at 5pm. we didnt manage to make it to any museum cos we were distracted along d way by sceneries n other stuff. we ended up doing a canal tour instead. we were d 1st to board the boat but it filled up really quickly. at 1 point i was thinking if more ppl came on board we would sink!! we didnt of cos... (that was juz my drama queen moment).

d canal cruise is a really nice way to see d little town. with explanation of buildings n people, it made u appreciated the history of d town more. of cos by now i couldnt remember much except that in the earlier centuries (13th - 15th), u know how rich a family is by the windows of their houses. they had something called Window Tax. the more windows a house has, d more tax to pay. n if the owner has no money to pay d taxes, the government will seal up a window. that is why some of these old houses have windows that's sealed up. another i remembered is that Belgium has more than 250 different beers. to a non beer-drinker like me, there's only 2 kinds: d nice 1 and d not nice 1... i'm sure a true beer drinker will say otherwise...

that aside, d canal cruise was really nice. we went to Begijnhof after the cruise. d Begijnhof is a quiet area where d Benedictine Sisters stay. d compound has a huge daffodil garden, which makes Begijnhof a hot romantic spot. i really enjoyed d peace n quiet there. we went into d church n d Sisters were all there doing their prayers. we left d church pretty quickly and d prayers were over shortly after. we saw all all of them walking off to a particular house. there's isn't many of them now, about a dozen n they r really old. they smiled at us as they walked pass us. they look like very nice grand mothers u want to have.

before we head home, we had dinner at this Italian restaurant near where we stay. d restaurant seems to be run by true italians. most of them have a tummy and look like they came off the Godfather movies! d pizza is really nice! thin crust n generous amount of toppings!! that's what i call a good pizza!

permalink written by  wangyng on April 8, 2008 from Brugge, Belgium
from the travel blog: Hello Europe!!
tagged Belgium, Brugge and Damme

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