When my family and I first landed in Germany, we decided to try to visit as many countries in the first weekend as we could manage. This was for no other reason than wanting to be able to say we were in 3 or 4 countries in one day. Coming from Canada, which is literally half of a continent, this was a new and exciting possibility for us. We drove to the Netherlands the first night in Europe, sat in an adorable Dutch square and had dinner. Just like that, we had been in 3 countries in one day. We just weren’t satisfied with stopping there.
I always forget to mention at the beginning of this story that we drove a taxi for our first weekend in Germany. When we arrived in Dusseldorf from Canada, we were picked up from the airport by a man named Dieter who runs a car service. He drove us over an hour to pick up our rental car, only to find that the rental office had closed at noon (we never learned why, they had been expecting us to show up when we did). We were not quite sure what to do but Dieter quickly took pity on us and told us he would lend us one of his cars and we went off to collect it. Thus, we found ourselves driving a German taxi, which we quickly forgot was a taxi and then wondered why everyone was staring at us for the remainder of the weekend.
Still determined to see new things, we set out in our borrowed taxi the next day and drove to Bruge. I recently looked at a map and wondered why the hell we didn’t pick something closer. I blame my mother and her love of Collin Farrell. When we arrived in Bruge, she dragged us through the city looking for something. Early in the afternoon she declared “Aha!” She stopped in front of the Belfry, pointed at the ground and declared: “And this is where Mad-Eye Moony went splat!” If you have not seen In Bruge, stop reading and go watch it. I am almost positive that we drove to Bruge that day so she could make her ridiculous declaration… well, that and my dad wanted to eat waffles.
I was so excited about being in Europe for the first few days that I only took pictures of strange things, mostly food. I don’t have any photos of landmarks in Bruge, just waffles, beer and seafood. Freshly made Belgian waffles are delicious. They are made from dough rather than batter and you can buy them anywhere in Belgium. Every city has seems to have a specific way of customizing waffles. Liege waffle makers have sticks of chocolate stuck into them and Bruge waffle makers tend to sell waffles with different kinds of berries on them.
There are thousands of different beers in Germany alone, and thousands more across the rest of Europe. To be sold as a beer in Germany, the beverage has to adhere to a certain list of ingredients and be made a certain way. As a result, we always discover very different beers outside of Germany, since their production adheres to a different set of rules (or no rules). We discovered our first favourite local brewery in Bruge that weekend. Bruge Zot is not widely known outside of Bruge and not at all outside of Belgium. However, it is such a hugely popular beer within the area that there is an underground pipe that carries it from the brewery to one of the local bars that serves it.
Other than food, the only picture I took that first visit to Bruge, was of a door. There was nothing special about the door other than the odd tree-like vine that grew around it. But as I passed by, I noticed that the mail slot had the words “Only Love Letters” printed across it. It was very Letters to Juliet and the door left a charming impression on me. I have tried to search google since to find the significance of the door, with no success. If I am ever able to find it again, I plan on knocking on the door and butchering my french until I have an explanation.
After gorging ourselves on muscles for dinner (a Bruge specialty), we headed back to our hotel in Germany. Not far from Bruge, our car alarm began to go off as we drove and we could not make it stop. We pulled to the side of the road and tried everything we could to turn off the alarm. We even went so far as to unplug the battery. A Belgian man pulled over and tried to help but we were all at a complete loss. Around this point, someone opened the trunk to see if there was anything in there that might help us. This was when we remembered that we were driving a taxi and it had a couple of extra features that normal cars do not. Such as an alarm button in the trunk in case of kidnapping. We had some bags in the trunk and one of them had shifted and pushed the button in as we drove along. Apparently this button is extremely ineffective because only one person stopped to help and no one notified the police that something was amiss.
Moral of the story: You could happily get fat in Bruge but don’t get kidnapped or you’re screwed.
I will be in Bruge again for a weekend in June 2017 and plan to take much better pictures in between the insane amount of waffles and beer I plan to consume…. again 🙂