Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trip to Bruges

Bruges/Brugge, as you like it. It's kind of a potato/potahto thing. Anyway. I'm finally getting around to this... I've been running like crazy since we got back. As stupid as this sounds, I think I'm far busier now than I ever was when I was working full time. Anyhoo, without further delay, I present to you... the beauty, the hilarity, and the bad behavior that made up our trip.

Welcome! To the hotel I cannot for the life of me pronounce!

Our cozy boudoir

A view of the canal from our room

Ok, we're all checked in and settled. Now what? What else? Belgian beer. And, size apparently does mater.

We're going to be here a while.

He always manages to catch me at my most vulerable moments. Can't a girl re-apply in peace?

You must stroke the chocolate tenderly, lovingly, adoringly...

Pretty pretty everywhere...

We always try our best to not look like "tourists". You know, except for the backpack. And the picture-taking.

At dinner, the restaurant offered me a cozy blanket since it started to get chily when the sun went down.

View over Bruges from the top of the Belfry in Market Square.

Market Square as seen through a little peep hole on a door in the Belfry.

Next up was a tour of the Half Moon Brewery - the oldest in Belgium I believe. I don't really know. Flemish accents are really hard to understand. When do I get my free beer?

The beautiful view from the top of the brewery. When did you say I get my free beer?

Um, hello? These are all empty. I want my free beer.

Ok, this is where the pictures start to get funny. And I haven't even had my free beer yet. This guy was the first of MANY freaky looking mannequins. I actually rounded the corner and thought it was a real person for a split second and almost screamed a little. So, this is my "I'm totally creeped out right now." face. But if you give me my free beer I might calm down.

"I am brew master. I make you beer. Wait a minute, I should make me beer. For free."

Now, you may or may not have noticed by now that the mannequins have one thing in common: Their arms and hands are in the most ridiculous, contorted positions. Thus begins the theme of me trying to strike a pose to mimmick each one. This gets funny. Trust me. Now give me my free beer.

Oh sweet mercy! My free beer!

Minnewater, the Lake of Loooooooove

You can always tell when Jason's doing something he shouldn't be doing. He was dying to unlock this door and see what was inside.

On our walk back towards the hotel, we saw a little street that looked cute at first glance. Then we saw this sign on a door. "Private. Danger of death." Ummm, I'm thinking not so much anymore.

After risking our lives on the street of death, we decided a snack was in order. A Netherlands specialty - pannencoeks. That's pancakes to me and you. In actuality, they're really what we call crepes.

Us on our way to dinner that evening. We ate at this tiny little place on the canal, Chez Olivier. It was French-Belgian fusion food. I think it leaned more towards the French side though. Regardless, it was DELICIOUS.

This turned out to be one of our favorite photos. I love how the reflection on the water was captured so perfectly. The water was like a sheet of glass.

I'm so cute somtimes it kills me. Just kidding. Sort of. No, really... I am. Maybe.

Day 3 in Bruges starts off with an excellent opportunity to mock others. A joke for you: How many tourists does it take to withdraw cash from a European ATM? Apparently 3. Ok, that wasn't really a joke. That was just me making fun of people.

I read that Bruges is arguably the most romantic city in all of Europe. I think the heart-shaped sugar cubes clinch the title for it.

At the chocolate museum... Now, we're not usually into tourist trap stuff like this but Jason was convinced there would be free chocolate at the end. Plus we had a discount card from our hotel so we figured it was totally worth a couple of euros each just for the possibility that there would be really funny displays inside considering the Belgians' love for creepy mannequins. We were NOT disappointed.

Who sits like that?!?! Really?!?!

We learned that monkeys help with harvesting cocoa beans. Then when we walked outside, we saw this monkey doing just that! What are the chances?!? Just kidding. I bet I really had you going there, didn't I? That fake nature scene is pretty convincing, no?

By far the funniest mannequin of the trip. Please notice that she's missing her left hand. Also please notice that I was able to recreate that little detail to perfection. Jason and I were laughing so hard that it took us like 5 tries to get this shot. Thus the strained expression on my face. I was trying not to bust up.

Ahhh-HA! This was the crime scene behind the counter. The hand. We're not sure what happened here but we suspect foul play or a tangle with one of the cocoa bean crushing machines. Also? Where is the health department? She's going to work barefoot!!

We didn't think it was going to get any funnier than that so we made our way to the chocolate making demo and snagged our free piece so we could split. Language lesson for today: "Straat" is Dutch for "Street". For the sake of comedy, let's just assume that "Bal" is Dutch for "Ball". And there you have it. Ball Street. Other possible names for this street include: Nutsackstraat, Scrotumstraat and Nadsstraat. Please keep in mind that I am almost 30 years old. If I haven't matured by now, it's never going to happen. I probably shouldn't procreate.

We read in our guide about the Folklore Museum which was a series of rooms, each set up in a different scene from life in the old days of Bruge. What did this say to us? More mannequins! SWEET! "Ummm, I think the person making my hat is dead. Anyone? Hellooo?"

I don't even remeber what the theme of this room was. I was totally and completely cracked up by the crazy looking lady back there.

We were dying laughing at this kid while we were at lunch. He just sat out on the brick wall the whole time and everytime a tour boat would go by, he would check them out in his binoculars. Every single time.

Our guide book listed this pub - de Garre - as one of the two best in Bruges. Here's Jason enjoying a house beer. It's very special beer becuase you can only get it at this pub. Seriously, this is the only place in the WORLD where you can buy this beer. We talked them into selling us a glass.

This was in the other of the two pubs our book recommended. Jason and I think that this is the first time in our near 11-year history that I have EVER finished my beer before him. That's my "That's right sucka. Check me out." pose.

And just in case you need a reminder of what they serve, there's this very helpful sign right on the front door. No fries. No ice cream.

Just beer. Glorious beer.

After a nap, we headed back out to the de Garre pub for some pre-dinner drinks.

Mussels, a Belgian specialty - for dinner. YUM!

Back at de Garre for post-dinner drinks. We visited this pub 4 times in total. You may be wondering why I'm showing you all these pictures of us enjoying these refreshing beverages.

Well, mainly because with the aid of all those pre, during, and post dinner beers, we noticed some funny stuff in the windows of the chocolate shops on the walk back to the hotel. Is this a racial statement - the white chocolate bunnies pulling the dark chocolate bunnies' carriage?

A lovely gift to take back home for a family member. Perhaps your grandma? Or your 10 year old nephew?

Sorry this is blurry but... On our last day, we took a carriage ride. As you can see, I was a bit skeptical of the horse. I don't really like big animals.

I apologize in advance to my mother for the following sequence of pictures. Please don't show this to Grandma or Grandmother :-) Give me a break. I was tired and Jason was driving me nuts. This was on the train back to Brussells to catch the Eurostar back to London.


Leave me.

The hell.


Okey-dokey... I reckon you internets people know the drill by now. Click here to see the rest of the photos at Shutterfly.