Travel Blog – Bruges to Maastricht

13 10 2009

The trip from Bruges to Brussels was uneventful and relatively short compared to previous efforts but because we had spent so much time in Bruges we still arrived in the early evening.

The apartment we stayed in was amazing, very close to the city center and on the 5th floor (no elevator) and it was really designed for longer stayers but we certainly enjoyed our one night. The decor was very retro-chic and I think both of us thought we could definitely live there.

View from our apartment (f8.0 1/1600 24mm)

View from our apartment (f8.0 1/1600 24mm)

One thing we found driving in was that navigation in Brussels is made interesting because all the signs are in both Flemish and French (the two major languages). It took a while to work out that when looking for a particular street you had to figure out first which language you had the street name in then break down the sign into the two different languages and finally compare the relevant half with what you’re looking for.

So with this in mind after settling in we then went for a walk to either Grote Markt or Grand Place depending on your choice of language. The place was really cool and looked like it was gearing up for a major sporting event as they were setting up screens and a crowd was gathering. The atmosphere was what really made it and while I think almost everyone there was a tourist it still made the city feel like a bustling and historical center.

Grand Place (f8.0 1/30 28mm)

Grand Place (f8.0 1/30 28mm)

(One of Alyona’s ones I believe, sometimes I can’t remember which ones she has taken but quite a few of those I post are really by her…)

The next stop on our walk was the very famous ‘Mannekin Pis’ … aka tiny statue of little boy pissing. Amazingly underwhelming and as you can see Alyona wasn’t even really bothering to look.

Mannekin Pis is *that* interesting (f8.0 1/8 58mm)

Mannekin Pis is *that* interesting (f8.0 1/8 58mm)

I really like this shot and how everything in the background is blurry making Alyona stand out even more :-) A lucky combination of people moving and her standing still I guess.

Supposedly there is a complementary statue of a little girl peeing somewhere in the city but it isn’t advertised in any of the tourist guides so we didn’t find it.

After returning to the square we found one of the many souvenier beer shops. These places are packed wall to wall with interesting sounding beers from the common to the very rare. I think the strangest one I saw was one that was ‘smoked Manuka’ flavoured but was made with Manuka imported into Belgium!

Boutique beers (f8.0 1/6 24mm)

Boutique beers (f8.0 1/6 24mm)

We bought several souvenier bottles as well as one large chocolate and one large strawberry beer to try that evening and, with these in hand, headed back to our apartment.

The Brussels Skyline (f8.0 1/60 28mm)

The Brussels Skyline (f8.0 1/60 28mm)

After dropping the beer home we went in search of food but there was seriously nothing in the area except financial firms and closed cafes so settled on the first Turkish place we came too.
I think this had to have been one of the worst and weirdest kebabs I’ve ever had to the point it even had fries in it. Alyona was not impressed at all but there was nothing else on offer so we made do and washed it down with our boutique beers and watched some IT Crowd.

In the morning it was once again time to pack up and head off with the idea being that we would stay the night at Alyona’s friend’s place in Frankfurt. This is a rather long drive (400km) so we left early to not have to rush.

It was a very picturesque drive though and when it neared lunch we had to decide which town to stop in. The two main contenders were Maastricht and Cologne but Lonely Planet said “you haven’t really seen Holland unless you’ve gone to Maastricht” which made up our minds for us.

Maastricht (f8.0 1/1250 24mm)

Maastricht (f8.0 1/1250 24mm)

Only problem is the Lonely Planet doesn’t really know what it is talking about and while nice, Maastricht is a bit of a bore and marked more by construction and barriers than any really interesting stuff. But we had a laugh at the “steep hill” signs on the way into town (the rest of Holland being flat I guess they get a bit taken aback when there is a gradient) and a nice lunch before getting on our way again…

Travel Route




2 responses

19 10 2009

Interesting, I`ll quote it on my site later….

21 10 2009

Greatings, Interesting, I`ll quote it on my site later

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