Wait…we’re staying in Bruges, Belgium?
Alright. What the heck. Give it a whirl, eh?
See, here’s the thing (<- this has become the official Europe Semester phrase). Bruges is really cool. It’s a town. Not quite a city, but not that small either. I’m not sure that this town has recognized it’s size yet. There is a massive, and I mean massive town square in the center of town. However, it is never filled. In fact, there are always too few people there. It’s strange. It always feels a little haunted…A little empty.
The town itself is an interesting mix. I think that most of Belgian culture is this way. An odd combination of Flemish, French, and plain European vibes emanate from the people. Bruges is in the Flemish speaking section of Belgium, so my French did absolutely 0 good. But, most everyone speaks English, and recognizes me to be an American, so I get addressed in English almost always. Take, for instance, the competing fry stands under the Belfry. I got to the front of the line and the guy looks at me and says “What do ya want?”. Right after serving a German couple, and before serving some British tourists. Kind of incredible, isn’t it? So were the fries. There’s something strange about Belgium. The people seem to live on a combination of French fries, chocolate, waffles, and beer; and yet, they are surprisingly healthy. Those people know hot to live eh?
They’re pretty darn nice too. On our last day there (well, until we got back today that is. Kinda confusing, I know. We went Bruges > Paris > Normandy >Bruges), my friend Joy and I sat on a bench looking at the river because we had missed the tourist boat ride that the rest of our group got on. We were talking when the 50-something-year-old woman sitting on the bench behind us interrupted. “Excuse me? You are from America yes?” We both turned and Joy engaged her. They ended up talking for about 15 minutes before the woman asked If we would join her for a drink. She ended up buying a Belgian beer for Joy, myself, and Corey. Just because we agreed to talk to her for what turned out to be about an hour and a half. I think I like the Belgians J