Travel Blog: Amsterdam to Bruges

10 10 2009

In the morning Tony informed us that he had set up a meeting between Alyona and his boss for lunch. Of course he had failed to tell us the night before so that we got to relax and enjoy Amsterdam which was pretty cool :-)

So we met Ha again in Amsterdam-Amstel, (a suburb on the Utrecht side of the city) for lunch and so that they could discuss different projects that the company had under development and to see if Alyona’s skills could be used.

Was a very nice lunch and it was interesting to hear what ideas they had (although I don’t pretend to have followed it all).

Later Tony headed back to work and we decided to head the rest of the way into the city. We spent a couple more hours of souvenier shopping and last-minute sight seeing before heading back and picking up the car again from Tony’s work.

That being done we drove to his apartment, picked up our bags, and hit the road again with just a hotel reservation in Bruges to aim for…

We didn’t stop till we crossed the border into Belgium and by the time we got to Antwerp it was definitely dinner time and we decided to head into the city center. This ended up being quite a mission and then more so to find a carpark in an area that looked like it would be reasonable for dinner. But we did and after a short exploration it turned out we were right in the center of town and so enjoyed another lovely meal of mussells beside the cathedral.

Antwerp Cathedral (f5.6 1/13 24mm)

Antwerp Cathedral (f5.6 1/13 24mm)

Then followed a mad dash night drive across Belgium to the far west and to the town of Bruges, which might sound an impressive drive till you realize that the entire country is only 300km or so across so it isn’t that much of a feat ;-) I will say though that Studio Brussels is a really good radio station and I was kind of miffed when we lost it a couple days later when entering Germany. I swear “2 many DJs” was on at one point…

We arrived just before 11pm and only just managed to get the car parked in the parking building before it shut for the night. I think the proprietors of the hotel were a little worried about us arriving or not and had been trying to ring but my cell wasn’t working in Belgium. But it all worked out and instead we enjoyed a late night beer to calm down from the drive and chatted with a couple of locals who were lamenting the size of speed camera fines you could get in Belgium. But he did have to admit he was caught doing 90 in a 50 zone…

Now the hotel is a thing to discuss! It was a building from the 1600s and while internally it had been renovated a couple times since then it still had a lot of the character one might imagine and was absolutely gorgeous (Hotel Salvador if anyone is interested). It was right beside the city center and one of the larger cathedral in Bruges.

Saint Salvatore's Cathedral, Bruges (f4.0 1/8 24mm)

Saint Salvatore's Cathedral, Bruges (f4.0 1/8 24mm)

The room itself was huge and even had a jacuzzi style bath which we both enjoyed before settling in for the night. In the morning we had a great breakfast buffet on site with cheeses, meats, and waffles. What was more interesting was that while packing there were a group of tourists who, among all the other sites, had stopped to look at our hotel!

Our hotel from the 17th Century (f4.0 1/1600 24mm)

Our hotel from the 17th Century (f4.0 1/1600 24mm)

When it hit afternoon we packed up and headed out to see the city a bit before moving on. One of the first things we came across was a statue of this dude Simon Stevin in a prime location in one of the market squares. Now guess what he invented (or copy paste him into google if that is more your style).

Simon Stevin (f8.0 1/125 24mm)

Simon Stevin (f8.0 1/125 24mm)

NB: You can see him over Alyona’s shoulder

Pretty ridiculous right, a huge statue to the guy who invented the decimal point!

A bit later we entered the main square with the palace on one side and the huge watch tower on another that anyone who has seen ‘In Bruges’ will be able to recognize. The place was crowded but still very atmospheric. And no, we didn’t see any over sized American tourists :-)

Bruges Main Square (f8.0 1/800 28mm)

Bruges Main Square (f8.0 1/800 28mm)

We spent a good couple hours walking around the city, visiting the fish markets and lace shops using Alyona’s Russian tourist guide to catch the best parts. There was also a constant stream of horse-and-carriages going around the city but both times we visited the main square the line of people waiting was huge so we never did manage to go for a ride.

Romantic Horse & Carriages (f8.0 1/400 24mm)

Romantic Horse & Carriages (f8.0 1/400 24mm)

Finally we stopped for a late lunch before leaving the city and, as is appropriate in Belgium, had frites, mussels in a white wine sauce, and beer. Absolutely delicious and it was a shame to leave when it was over.

Alyona & Mussels (f8.0 1/20 24mm)

Alyona & Mussels (f8.0 1/20 24mm)

And yes, that is decimal point guy over her shoulder again… he does get around…

Travel Route




One response

11 10 2009

The dude over my shoulder, on the last photo of this blog, is NOT the decimal point inventor. This guy is wearing a jeans baseball cap & a mustache! Decimal point was invented way before his time by the statue located over HIS shoulder. :-)

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