sunnuntai 17. maaliskuuta 2013

The perfect weekend in Bruges

I've had one of the best weekends here so far. I'm appreciating this country more and more every day. It keeps amazing me how such a rich culture and history fits into these 30 000 square kilometers, into this tiny country, that would fit 11 times inside Finland. 

On friday, I decided to stay home to sleep a good night, since I knew I had to wake up early next morning to catch the train to Bruges. However, my hostsister turned me around and convinced me to go out with them to an S-party, where you had to be dressed as something starting with the letter S. I find it incredible how belgians always seem to have costumes for every situation (I guess this is due to the lively carneval-culture). With an hour notice we came up with four costumes at our house, all starting with the letter S. Instead of my creative suggestions, such as sauerkraut, saturnus and a smurf, we ended up as a secretary, a soldier, a scientist and a sheriff. The night was fun and the costumes creative. This kind of thing would never happen in Finland, a well-organized theme party, where everyone is dressed up and no one stands in the corner in the fear of not knowing how to dance good enough. 

The next morning I forced myself out of bed at 7.45, packed my backpack and head towards the "venice of the north". Sofie, Michelle and Greg joined me, and at noon we were walking on the cobblestone streets between medieval flemish houses. Only after a two-hour train ride we were like in a different world. We checked in to our hostel, which was a charming old cinema turned youth-hostel in the very center of the city. The receptionist told us about a free walking tour around the city, and of course we took the offer. Our guide was a loud american girl with a big smile, and the two-hour tour covered the most important sights and the town history, as well as the beer and other necessities. As we were all budget travelers, we got tips for the best restaurants with reasonable prices (bruges is really expensive), the best bars and all the free activities you could do. I was very impressed of the amount of things I learned just in the two hours. (The facebook page for the tours: )

After the tour we walked around a bit, visited the "wall of beers", a wall displaying all of the over a thousand different belgian beers, and the glasses designed for them. Then we took a break, ate some waffles, and then searched the narrowest street in town, de garre, and the rustic, medieval style bar with the same name in the end of it. We then ordered house beers, also named de garre, after the street. This place is the only place in the world you can get this specific beer, which is a blonde brew with 12,5% alcohol, so strong they only serve three per customer. After sitting for a good while sipping the beer and  snacking the cheese that they served with it, we went next door to an italian restaurant. It was a nice place and afterwards we walked back to our hostel. We sat a few hours in the hostel's bar, that is said to be the nicest in the city, decorated with posters of old rock bands, old pinball machines and pool tables. 

In the morning we packed our things and left the hostel to eat a huge brunch at my favourite place, le pain quotidien. Then we walked to the cathedral to see Michelangelo's Madonna and the child, which is the only work of Michelangelo to leave Italy while he was still alive. Unfortunately the cathedral was under renovation work and the area with the sculpture was closed. From the cathedral we went to see the ruins of an old church (visiting a chocolate store on the way), and then to visit the Basilica of the holy blood. It is a church originally built in the 12th century, famous for being the repository of a venerated phial claimed to contain the blood of jesus christ on a cloth. The legend says that the dried blood turns liquid during times of radical change or war in the world. 

At three o'clock we got our bags from the hostel and headed towards the train station, from where we took the train to ghent, which is only 20 minutes away. We only stayed there for a couple of hours, but still saw some great places, visited a medieval castle, walked along the canals and ate dinner. We were so lucky, since it was supposed to rain for the whole weekend, but instead we had sun almost the whole time with the exception of a 15 minute brief fall of water. At seven we got into the train with the direction of Liege and Verviers. Two hours in the train passed really fast thanks to our deep conversations with Sofie, and here I am now, home, happy, tired and full of chocolate. 

I have monday and tuesday off school so I'm going to sleep a lot and load my batteries. Only a week left before a silence retreat that I'm doing with school, in a monastery near the french border, and after that we'll have two weeks of easter holiday. My best friend will fly here for 5 days during the two weeks, I'm so exited to show her all of this awesomeness. 

PS. I'll throw in a bunch of photos taken with my phone but I'll make another post with more photos  when I get them from Sofie next week. 

This was the first one of the three bachelor parties we ran into..

The astrid park

The second highest brick church in the world, our lady church


View over Ghent
On the top of the castle
Another view from the castle
Flemish houses by the canal

This is about as unique as beer gets.
The venice of the north

The bar at our hostel

Breakfast at le pain quotidien

Ghent canalside

A courtyard in bruges

The queen and her castle

2 kommenttia:

  1. Vastaukset
    1. Hihii kiitos, noista paikoista ei rumia kuvia ois saanu yrittämälläkään! :)