Zac and I are easygoing, relaxed people. We don’t need a lot of planning, and therefore, don’t do much. When we left for Europe, we had places to stay for the first week, and figured we would figure the rest out from there. We also didn’t reserve our tickets on the trains, we just bought them as we needed them. We just had to kind of figure out the speed trains, rail schedules and reservations protocol as we went along. We quickly realized in London, the speed train was the best way to get to mainland, and we knew we wanted to end up in Bruges, so that meant a speed train Brussels and then jumping on the local trains for another few hours. We left London at the crack of dawn…actually before dawn it was 4:30 or so and got on the speed train.
After a few hours we were there! We got lost initially (apparently my drawing of the streets that I got off of Google maps wasn’t 100% accurate) and after an hour of walking went back to the train station and hopped in a taxi. A few minutes later we arrived at our hostel. I know, a hostel during your honeymoon, how romantic. But we wanted to make our trip a real experience, and the hostel was definitely that.
We went to check in and find our sweet bunk beds, I called dibbs on the top. We were super excited when we realized that the bathroom and showers were back down the wobbly spiral staircase, through the lobby and through a little courtyard. Let me just say, make sure you pee before bed!
I know I videotaped the journey, but I don't have pictures of much of the inside of the hostel. This is the courtyard to the bathrooms.
We dropped off our bags and headed off to explore. We walked along the amazing little cobblestone streets to the main square.
Housed in this square is the Belfry, made famous in the movie In Bruges.
We decided to pay to climb to the top...366 steps!
Once you got there, you could see all the inner workings of the clock and the bells. But, more impressive was the view
The building there are truly medieval and beautiful. Check out this building
What's amazing, buildings like this are EVERYWHERE. You can't walk down a street in Bruges and not have something pleasing to look at. There were tons of cute little shops and bakeries and butcher shops. Zac and I even stopped for an afternoon tea at a little place we'd passed. It was so stinkin cute inside, little white chairs with velvet cushions. Beautiful little pastries filled the display case. Just one look woulda caused a diabetic to keel over. It was adorable and precious. We ordered tea and pastries and sat down to warm up. Soon after our tea got there I found out that Zac takes his tea with sugar! (I can't tell you how long it took me to talk him into putting the heart-shaped cube in his mouth and letting me take a picture)
From there we explored more. Our hostel rented bikes (which you will see more of in tomorrow's pictures) for a few dollars and we tooled around the entirety of Bruges. We stopped at the Basilica of Blood which is famous for having on display a vial of Christ's blood. Every so often they peform a ceremony and everyone is allowed to walk up, kneel and pray with their hands on the vial. Well, not on the vial directly. It's hermetically sealed in another tube. This is a picture of the beautiful church. Can you say ornate?
And the ceremony
After our first of many long days, we headed back to our hostel. What is so amazing about Bruges was the time during which you see that gradual fade to darkness. In the states, night falls around 9 in the summer. This picture was taken without a flash. That's right 5 after 10 and there is still light peaking out from behind the clouds that seemed to hang around all day.
From there we went inside our smoky hotel lobby and dropped a few euros at the bar. Our hostel had plenty of games, monopoly, checkers, etc. Zac took the opportunity to teach me chess. We did this both nights we stayed there. Long days of exploring then back to the hostel for chess, beer, sleep and prayers that our butts didn't hurt as bad from the biking the next morning.
PS all of the scenery shots are from my trip, even though some look straight out of a travel brochure, it just really is that pristine.