Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bits and Pieces

One of the cool things we did when in Bruges was take the canal boat ride. When I went before, I didn't and always regretted not doing it. Sure, it's a little touristy-cheesy, but it's also the best way to see the town the way it was intended to be seen.

The tour takes about a half hour and takes you through all the canals that are still accessible by boat. The bridges can be really low and the guide makes sure everyone has ducked their heads before he takes the boat under.

We also walked a long part of the ring road around the town. The ring road is bordered by a canal which, once upon a time, was a moat that protected Bruges from invasion. There were gates all around, though now only one is left.

There were also windmills, which didn't look like the Dutch variety I have in my head. It was a beautiful day for walking, mid-60s and breezy, and we worked up quite an appetite by the end of the day.

Most of our meals were from the prix-fixe menus at restaurants, 3 courses for whatever, but on Sunday night we decided to splurge on a seafood restaurant which we'd passed every day on our way through the main squares. The prices were a little higher, but we decided to eat off the menu, not the set priced one, and get what we wanted but maybe not 3 courses worth. That was the best idea, and the best meal, of the trip. Mario got a platter of grilled langoustines, something he particularly loves and aren't much seen at home. I got the waterzooi of North Sea fish, which was a big piece of salmon, some smaller pieces of monkfish, a few scallops, shrimp and mussels, all in a cream sauce with potatoes. With a bright red languostine perched on top of the bowl.

It was beyond heavenly, and I scraped every drop of sauce once I was done the seafood. After that, we didn't need dessert.

We walked around for another hour or so, and then went back the hotel, ordered 2 espressos and took them upstairs to our room where we spent way too much time trying to read an article from a Belgian magazines about the vagaries of American politics.

It was in French, not Flemish, not that that really helped much. My French doesn't run anywhere near that far, and Mario has even less. The iPhone was much used and I think we got the gist of it, if not all the details.

Needless to say, despite the way they poke fun at Sarkozy, I think we're still the best entertainment the Europeans have.


Gail said...

There is a very good British film called In Bruges with Colin Farrell. It is about two assassins in Bruges awaiting their orders - its razor sharp, witty and sad.

cidell said...

Your timing is perfect! I'm thinking of the Netherlands and Brussels next year for vacation! It looks beautiful.

Barbara said...

Of course you have a preference for Bruges. Any Dorothy Dunnett fan would. How many times did you connect what you were seeing to the scenes in the books?

KC said...

Where did you stay in Bruges? We were at the Adornes in September. I did not see any naked men in the sky, however--did you find what that was about?

And are you (and Barbara) a Dorothy Dunnett fan? I latched onto the Lymond chronicles while they were still being written and loved them (or what I understood of them as a young uneducated teen). I haven't made my way all the way through the Niccolo books but enough to want to spend more time in Bruges!