Shhh….please…for me…just….shhhhh. North by Northwest, and stoofvleessaus

The Wandering Nerd September 8th, 2007

While I’m not prepared to say the affair is over, my relationship with Delirium Tremens is certainly under scrutiny. I love it but it hurts me so. I met some interesting folks in the hostel bar and my plan to crash early pending the day’s travel sort of went to hell. To a point where I actively told the bartender that no matter what anyone else says, don’t let anyone else buy me a drink. Apparently I have some newly developed sense of self preservation. I’m not sure how well it will be able to handle my well developed sense of self destruction, but I’m not willing to bet, as it will probably go to the judges. Needless to say I’m looking and feeling my best this morning. Which is great because they call Brugge the ‘Venice of the North’ due to the number of canals winding through the city. I currently happen to call Brugge the ‘City of Too Many Goddamned Bell Towers.’ Have some mercy - though some would argue I don’t deserve it.

Add to the bells, and the Delirium pink elephants still frolicking about in my nugget, one big market festival chock o’ block full of people. It was a grand day out strolling through the row up on row of stalls with women arguing over prices. They had these strange Transformer-esque trucks that turned into essentially store fronts for what looked like fancy retailers. I know precious little about women’s clothing - other than how to occasionally extract one from the other - but this looked like high end stuff. So, ladies, if you’re in the market for some new threads Brugge, Belgium, on a Saturday.

Well enough about me, how are you? Having a good time? Are they treating you alright? Sitting comfortably? Good, good. Well, I suppose we should get started.

I’m not really sure why Brugge is such the hoppin’ travel destination that it is. I’ve seen it referred to as a tourist trap, but those sources clearly have never been to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Brugge is just a small town. With a lot of bicycles, and crazed riders, high on waffles and beer, with some sort of death wish/vendetta against all of humanity.

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I felt it was only right that I should get involved too. So I rented a bike, bought a bottle of wine and headed off. Check out this bad boy. I wanted to take it off some sweet jumps. Scooters are allowed on both bike paths and roads here, so it was kind of frustrating getting passed buy some guy driving a chainsaw while I was tearing it up on my one-speed.

They provided me with what could loosely be referred to as a map. In as much as it had some lines on it, some numbers, and pretty colors in appropriate shapes such as to give the illusion of being informational. What it lacked however were three important aspects of map-iness. Road or street names, the names of the points of interest that are denoted by numbers on said map and, most importantly any sort of accuracy. So I ended up just heading north and figured I’d hit the ocean eventually.

I brought an iPod with me, but usually I don’t listen to it when I’m out wandering about. I prefer just listening to the soundtrack of the area, not imposing one on it. I broke a little with tradition since it was a longish ride. It was pretty cool just toolin’ along listening to some Gorillaz and Eels. The sun finally came out as I got to the coastal town of Heist. So I sat on the beach of the North Sea, had my Salmon Baguette, drank some of my wine, and watched a woman teach her kid how to fly a kite. Overall, a worthwhile excursion.

The Belgians, and Brugge in particular, loves it’s fries, or ‘frites.’ There are shops all over the place, and two right in front of the big belfry - and it’s stupid stupid bells. Theses two shop get lotteried off every three years so that every fry shop in Brugge can have a shot at them. The fries are okay, but they have 15 or more types of sauce they slather over them. The primary being ’stoofvleessaus,’ which is more of a roast beef gravy. Then there’s the ‘Bicky Burger,’ a breaded sort of burger…thing with crisped breading and remoulade sauce. I would almost expect everyone here too be around 300lbs, but after all the biking I suppose that takes care of it.

There’s not really any one big thing that’s a draw for Brugge, there are some museums, a cathedral - which does have Michaelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges - the big belfry, and the canals tours. Justin and Ang - the South African couple I met in Brussels - rolled up for a day and we hit up the few sights and the chocolate museum. Though, that turned out to be really small, and I’m not sure it was worth the admission. We did luck into this little confectionery shop giving a demonstration. You know those little round hard candy that has little fruit images made into the candy? Or it has someone’s name? Yeah they make that stuff. We spent a good hour there enthralled by the guys working with molten sugar…plus we kept sneaking more and more of their free samples.

I’m heading to Rotterdam, where I intend to take it easy a bit. I know Amsterdam is coming up so like any good professional athlete I’m going to have a couple of rest days before the big match. If nothing else, I’m a consume-it professional.



i’m useless but not for long
the future is coming on
-gorillaz

One Response to “Shhh….please…for me…just….shhhhh. North by Northwest, and stoofvleessaus”

  1. Hoshion 11 Sep 2007 at 11:04 am

    Brugge is just a small town. With a lot of bicycles, and crazed riders, high on waffles and beer, with some sort of death wish/vendetta against all of humanity.
    .
    Sounds like my kind of place! The part just before this quote…the one about Pigeon Forge…horribly true. If you run into a place in Europe that has become ANYTHING at all like an American garage sale, let me know. I will avoid it like the farking plague.
    .
    The bike ride to the North Sea sounded awesome too. That is the kind of event that makes a trip special (at least for me). Glad to hear you’re figuring out how to take it easy. Rotterdam prolly won’t be much better than Amsterdam though, just cheaper. Everything is cheaper outside Amsterdam, just like here in the big cities of the US.
    .
    Good to hear things are moving along. I can’t wait for the Holland installment of your trip. Something tells me it’s about to get lively around here. :)
    .
    Have fun, be safe and, as always, don’t polish off every brasserie you find.
    .
    Hoshi

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