A BEER POST!! Finally!!
Sticking to the blog’s intended theme of travel and beer… we made a short trip yesterday to the Westmalle Trappist Abbey near Antwerp to check out the countryside and sample some of their famous beer. It was a chill trip for a Saturday…
CLICK “Read More” to see the rest of the post & photos.
R and I just spent Christmas together in Amsterdam, The Netherlands- which was a trip totally taken on a whim. I like to joke with people: the best part about living in Brussels is being able to travel OUT of it, and so that’s what we decided to do this year for Christmas.
So here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for… and in case you’re wondering why the photos looks so aged: no, I didn’t ‘instagram’ these shots, they were from a disposable camera. Our trip was to Stuttgart, Germany probably about five months ago now! haha yeah I know, I finally got around to writing about it.
For starters: Germany rocks.
Don’t be fooled by this photo… it’s 10pm right now.
An old friend of mine from the Corps came to visit last weekend as he was passing through Belgium, so we hit the town in search of some awesome beers and local watering holes. We got exactly what we were looking for!
Here’s the massive church and clock tower we pass by our house heading towards downtown. This night with the sunset made for some amazing photos. All in thanks to R’s genius camera work 🙂
My buddy, “O”, and me on the steps headed towards downtown.
“Ray: What’s up there?
Ken: The view.
Ray: The view of what? The view of down here? I can see that down here.
Ken: Ray, you are about the worst tourist in the whole world.
Ray: Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn’t, so it doesn’t.”
This line from In Brugges is basically why we wanted to go to Brugges so bad.
R and I set out a couple of weekends ago to visit Brugges. We were pretty excited to go there after having watched the film In Brugges a while back. Neither of us are the sort that get caught up in sightseeing just for the sake of sightseeing, or traveling to a place just to visit ruins or medieval buildings. What I look for in visiting a new place is feeling out the vibe, or you could say the energy I get from the people and things happening around me. But don’t get me wrong; Brugges has some real history, along with it great scenery- if that’s what you’re into. It’s about an hour train ride north of Brussels.
Getting up there was a bit of a hassle. We ended up losing nearly two hours because my dumb ass chose the wrong train to get on… but that’s part of the experience I guess, and that’s what we get sometimes when we don’t plan ahead. We don’t have an iPhone or GPS or any of that other stuff. We typically wing-it whenever we go somewhere new. It’s more fun that way.
So with a few detours we made it, and set off walking from the Brugges train station. Right away we could see the city’s famous towers in the distance. The streets were pretty crowded, and the weather was getting hotter by the minute. We managed to get some pretty neat pictures walking into the city. Brugges is pretty big on tourism, so there were lots of internationals and expats walking around. The streets are lined with hotels, at least two per block.
That’s me on the left.
Our first trip in Belgium was to a subdued college town in southern Belgium. At this point we were dying to get out of our hotel and tour around. The nearest “big” city was Mons, and it was conveniently 20 minutes away by train.
Figuring out the train schedule initially and getting to the right place at the right time was a bit of an adventure. We jumped on the local commuter line near our hotel (without purchasing tickets beforehand) which was jam-packed with high school and college kids. While getting some curious looks searching for a place to sit from the youngsters, the conductor intercepted us and asked for tickets- in French of course. With a bit of back and forth, he showed me the amount due on his portable ticket device. As this is going on, we noticed all the kids got dead silent and I could tell were intently entertained by what was going on. I actually didn’t have enough cash on hand to buy the tickets (the train, as it turns out, is NOT a cheap form of transportation here). This brought the conductor into a bit of a Belgian fury- which is basically a series of disapproving grunts mixed with spitting and eye rolling. I flashed my Mastercard and this brought out even more pleasantries. Long-story short: he walked off with my debit card and came back 10 minutes into the train ride with printed tickets and the card. I thanked him in French, and the reply was some grunt. But we were on our way!