I hate cobbles. I do not care how adorable, quaint, or photogenic they appear. Cobbles are muffins of the devil, sent to drive every wheeled piece of luggage straight to hell.
So it goes in Bruges. We slush through snow, trying in vain to find our hostel. We have no time to look at anything, only which rut will eat our wheels next.
Get a taxi, you say. Well, this is an EU Austerity Drinking Tour. 179 days of travel add up.
Aside from local pride in beer, Belgium has a morbid fascination with cliche American food:
Bruges, sans luggage, now looks charming, heck, boarder-line cloyingly adorable.
We pop our heads into churches with holy blood, city halls, and historic buildings. However, actual entry costs 10 to 20 euros everywhere. Tourists must have it rough. So instead, we explore the city. Town square holds a massive tower that chimes constantly:
There are more geese than people in Bruges.
We stumble into an alley, that turns out to be Bruges old red light district:
In need of moral rectitude, we visit the UNESCO Ten Wijngaerde beguinage. Once a vineyard, around 1240, pious women set up a cloistered space for beguins. One accesses it via a bridge through a fortified gate.
Inside, Bruges somehow becomes even more silent than before. Whitewashed dorms and work spaces frame a snowy courtyard. Slowly freezing, we enjoy the warm gift shop with countless hand made jams, honeys, and art. We then head to chapel.
Later, more wandering finds children after school sledding beneath historic windmills. We consider going into the postcard business.
We want to pop into a cathedral but it costs 16 euros. Instead we walk through a seven hundred year old hospital and spend the 16 Euros it would have cost on a meal of pancakes. Fed I make a Japanese-inspired Neko cat (our trip’s mascot) near one of Bruges’ many turreted gates.
So check back for Wayward Wine’s review of the best beers we had in Bruges.