Posts Tagged ‘bruges’


26 February 2009

 According to about 82 novelty tshirts I saw…


But I promise that I am still a Good Girl. Don’t even worry about it.

Still reeling from our previous Travel Nightmare, my RoHo homies and I were wary about all of the necessary arrangements needed to rendezvous with the tour group in London. Everything worked out perfectly though, and we got on our coach and headed for the continent.

You may be thinking to yourself, “But Leonore! You cannot drive from England to Amsterdam. There is water in between! Water water all around but not a drop to drink! Alack!”

And this is true. However, you CAN drive to Dover (I saw the cliffs! They are magnifical–that’s magnificent/magical fyi) and drive onto a large large boat, which, in turn, drives (or swims or rows or whatever it is boats do) to Calais, where you drive off the boat and onto the ground and continue driving as normal. Except that the bus is made for The England, so it’s going on the other side of the road which is weird.

Driving across 3 countries in Northern Europe for 7ish hours was a lot like driving from Orlando to my grandparents’ house in Georgia–rest areas, the huge fields with/without animals, the change of language–but I don’t recall, unless I slept through it, any sort of “Welcome To Belgium!” signage. It’s so weird to drive for that length of time and pass through 4 countries (if you count England) instead of 2 states.

First stop: Bruges, Belgium

Did you know that Belgium is famous not only for its waffles and chocolates, but also for lace? And also there was that dodgy bit of history with King Leopold and Africa and The Heart of Darkness, but we don’t talk about that. Canals!


Also, there is the movie In Bruges, which takes place in Bruges, but we (thankfully) didn’t watch that on the bus until we were out of Bruges. It was fun to be like “Been there. Know where that is.La la la. I’m so cool.”

Have you seen it? If you have, you may recognize


this belltower. Ominous.

Got some chocolate (SO GOOD). Saw a church. Walked around. Moved on.

Second stop: Amsterdam

We got to the hotel (which was REALLY nice, especially coming off of the £10 no sheet Brighton experience) around 8pm, and the guide was going to take us into the center of town for a walking tour and dinner etc etc. Except there was a hullabaloo of misunderstanding about the tickets and the public transport etc etc etc. So we finally made it in around 10, and a la New York, there was still a LOT going on, and the party was just getting started in a lot of places. We went to this area called Ledes Plein (plein means square, we later learned) had dinner and some revelry. After midnight, the only public transport (as in no metro, tram, or regular bus) is the Knight Night bus. Unfortunately, it’s just like a regular bus, except that it runs in the middle of the night.

Third stop: Edam

Really cute little Holland (also, fun fact: Holland=2 of the 12 Netherlands provinces. So it’s a bit like the rectangle/square conundruum: All of Holland is also the Netherlands, but all of the Netherlands is not Holland) village, home to CHEESE, a giant church, more canals, and a naked man in a window.

Fourth stop: Volendam

Seaside town! Also, home to this:


A wind mill!

Sidenote: I also saw lots of these:


Anyway, and then it was back to Amsterdam for a canal tour, seeing of sites, wandering of streets, eating of food, going to museums.

Now the part I know you’re all eagerly awaiting:

The Red Light District (dun dun dun!)

Yes, I went. Interestingly enough, when you’re about to walk down the main street that is the aforementioned RLD, there are Ominious Red Lights shining on the sidewalk. Mostly, we spent our brief time there either 1. Giggling and being all “OHMAGOSH there’s a prostitute/sex museum/peep show!” or 2. being grossed out by groups of men oggling the prostitutes. But it was weird because 1. there really were skantily clad ladies in windows with red lights on them and 2. there were a lot of normal looking people (including other women/old couples) just wandering around also.

Needless to say, the Barnard Woman in me was rather unsettled by the whole experience. But it was overall amusing or at least intriguing, and now I can say I’ve been there.

Things I sadly did not see: Anne Frank’s House. The Van Gogh Museum. Not enough time/lines too long.

And now for a little multimedia!

Pictures, as usual, but (drum roll please) I now have a youtube account! These videos are not that exciting (bell towers in Edam and Amsterdam), but hey, you gotta start somewhere. Also, it sounds pretty. Also also, here’s another one from back when I went to Leeds Castle. It features amazing feats of nature. So amazing, in fact, that I must embed it here:

Ok sorry…that was a lot less exciting than I remember it being in person…

Off to Scotland tomorrow! If you have any messages for the Loch Ness Monster, please make them known to me ASAP.