Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ghent, Bruges, a whole new experience w/beer

My hosts! Tim and Marina

So, I was expecting to get a couch in Bruges, but due to my delayed action, an emergency couch request turned up some places in Ghent, and some ppl say Ghent is way cooler than Bruges.  Now I know.
Stayed w/this really cool couple, Tim and Marina, he’s from Belgium, she from Holland.  Very nice ppl. When I got in, they were preparing dinner, which I tried to help out w/a little. It was this delicious Dutch/Belgium version of chicken pot pie.  Mmmmm!  Just what I needed!  Some delicious home cooked food!  That night, we chilled and played some board games, I’m finding I’m playing and learning a bunch of games, I think that is what is missing from my life.
A street in Ghent

To show my appreciation, I made some pumpkin muffins!

The next day, I took the train to Bruges to check that shit out.   It was cute, very old looking…pretty and stuff, wandered around, got a feel for the little village, did some shopping…(I had to get myself a souvenir) And then it started to rain, and a museum sounded like a very good idea!
train ride to Bruges...

Just like the movie In Bruges!

I checked out the Groeninge Museum, saw some things I recognized from art history class, ie. Jan Van Eyck, Durer, Frederick Herling, …It was then getting a little late, and I was getting a little hungry.  I was recommended by my Couch surfing host to go to a real Belgian restaurant, but they were closed, so I passed by this little café and decided it looked as good as any. As soon as I walked in the door, I was bombarded w/ppl talking in English!  It was a pleasant surprise!  The owner of the café was from California and there was another guy there who was originally from Chicago.  We all chatted, I had some lasagna, then the guy Mark, said he was going to another bar, in the center if I’d like to join.  I evaluated the situation, talked to the other women who knew him and said he was a nice guy.  So, we went to a local bar, I got to try some local beer, and then we went to a restaurant and had some food and I got a nice little tour of Bruges by someone who lived there!  Then I went back to the train station to catch the next one back to my home in Ghent.  Only like a 25 min. ride, which was nice. 
Called it a night, because the next day was something to look forward to.
Lots of towns/villages in Europe have celebrations, this particular Sunday was one of them.  The city gave out free drinks, beer, glueweine, vodka, anything from 11am to 1pm.  AWESOME.  If only we did things like this in the States!  Everyone brought food and people just hung out in the square and had a good time!  My hosts brought their ironing board to set up as a table, which worked perfectly!  We had our free beers and then Tim gave me a nice little tour of the city, and some local pubs.  We first checked out the Cathedrale, which was neat, then walked a bit, and found ourselves at a pub!  It was great, I love Belgian beers! If only you could get them for the same prices in the States… We saw lots of Ghent, and lots of pubs, a very proper Belgian experience.

Morning in Ghent!

The PACKED square

singing the song of Ghent!

A nice little pub, and an old man who decided to chat w/us

Mmmm, a good local beer!

This beer is my favorite tho! the Reinaert

Headcheese! so good!

That night, still buzzed from the day, we had mussels! Which were very good, and then off to bed, after sampling another Belgian beer. This one, was a holiday version of a typical beer.  Now, to bed.
I woke up early the next day to find my way to Rouen!!
I had no idea how complicated it would be.
Went to the train station, 75 Euros to take a train to Paris, uhhh, I don’t think so.
Bus=21 Euro, ok. 
Bus to Paris!

So, in order to get to any small town you  have to go through big towns.  From Ghent, I had to take a train to Brussels, then a bus from there to Paris, and then another train to Rouen.  A long day of travel. 
Arrived in Paris, got off the bus, only to immediately realize I did not have my phone!!! Went straight back on the bus, looked around, no phone!!! Asked ppl in my broken French if they had seen one, “J’ai perdu mon telephone! trouvez-vous…?”  to no avail. 
Took the subway to the train station my couch surfing host recommended, thank god, I got that message at least!  And from there got a train to Rouen, found a McDonalds, the only place open w/wifi, and skyped my host to come get me!  We met up, and Benjamin was very nice, we walked around, mini-tour, went to a bar, had a beer to relax and then home.  Now, I will go check out the city of Rouen!


  1. Yeah! It's the tiny pieces of meat left in the skull of an animal that is soaked in water to get all of it out, and then chilled and it turns it into jelly stuff! Really good w/mustard.

  2. We were not singing the national anthem of Belgium, but the song of Ghent. ;)