Monday, 21 September 2009

In Bruges

I spent this weekend in Belgium. Arriving in Bruges after dark, I was greeted by the clip-clop of horse-drawn carts on cobbled streets (what an amazing sound!) and narrow lanes lined with medieval stone and brick buildings. The whole scene is gently lit by street lights that manage to avoid casting the gloomy sodium-light shadows found most places. Bruges by night is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities I have seen.
Incidentally, apparently I'm one of the few people left in the world who hasn't seen the movie In Bruges (oh it's recent... no wonder I didn't see it: I was in China), since it's all anybody talks about whenever Bruges comes up in conversation.
I had already decided to go for a run on Saturday when I looked at the online event listings and found there was an organized run happening and not much else that interested me. So, after a pleasant boat tour around the canals, I took my advice from last week one level further and saw the area around Bruges while running a 15km race.
For dinner, I found an excellent restaurant called De Vlaamsche Pot (The Flemish Pot), which serves local regional cuisine. The two-storey restaurant is cleverly laid out throughout a restored period house, complete with huge wooden beams in the ceilings. It is charmingly decorated and it successfully creates the atmosphere of somebody's dining room without any of the rooms feeling cramped at all. On top of that, the service was excellent in any language you can think of and the food was terrific. I filled up on delicious Flemish beef stew and didn't have room to even consider dessert.
The city's charm is tempered slightly during the day by the hoards of ambling tourists but not enough to put a damper on the weekend. It would be nice to do some day trips in the area some day: I'd love to see the fields of poppies and maybe check out Ypres and its Menin Gate, a painting of which struck me while in Canberra a number of years ago. It's always good to save something for the next visit.
Belgium brings my number of visited countries for the past three weeks to six and it looks like I'll hit at least seven before making it back to Canada... whew.

1 comment:

Steven H. Noble said...

I think if you blog about participating in a 15km race it is only fair that you disclose your time.