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Hannah’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Location: Brussels, Belgium

MapHello it's me again!
Just had my last lovely day in Belgium, as I am off to Paris tomorrow.
Yesterday I went to Brugge (Bruges) which is like an hour away on the train. It's very different again to anywhere else I've been. The buildings and streets are all very much intact from the 1600 and on, a couple older. I guess unlike alot of cities it must not have been damaged too much in either of the world wars, which is what ruined alot of european old architecture.
It's also on canals. A bit like Venice but not as extreme. There are no gondolas but you can go in a little boat and see most of the town. The city centre is quite small, and it's easy to walk through the whole thing. I walked around and looked at stuff for a while. There is a church that thinks it has a relic of christs blood, and in flemish or dutch (I'm not sure which) the church is called the bloed basilik. Pretty macabre sounding eh? They actually bring it out once a year and parade it around town and have a festival and stuff, and have done for a couple of centuries!! Crazy stuff. I also so a beguine village, which is a world heritage listed group of little houses which used to be where a bunch of women lived after their husbands all got killed in war etc. They sort of formed a commune and became nuns. It's really nice in the middle of all the houses though, a big old garden, and you can see in one of the houses which is still like it used to be. There are no more of the beguine nuns left today but their equivalent is a benedictine nun I think?? I still want to take a picture with a nun for novelty but haven't got the guts up to ask one to pose yet!!!!!!
I also did a brewery tour, but I have to say, it didn't hold much stock against the Cascade tour in Tassie. It was sort of the old stuff they don't use anymore, so you can see all the machinery and equipment, and they tell you how it would have worked, but in Tassie you get to see the whole thing in action which was much more interesting. The brewery though, caled the Half Moon, does a bear called Brugs Zot, or in english the Idiot from Bruges. Only in Belgium!!!
I also saw a Michalangelo sculpture, by chance. In this ugly old church apparantly many years ago someone was in italy and bought this Madonna and Child sculpture and brought it back and gave it to the church in Brugge, where it remains. Out of the way huh??
Last night I thought when I got home from Brugge I was tired, but that was until these crazy Canadians and some crazy spaniards and \i all started playing this drinking game here in the hostel. I hadn't played it before but it was alot of fun. Long story short it's with cards and you take turns and each card you pick means a different thing like how many shots you have to do, how many you can make someone else do, social chug, waterfull chug, sevens counting, this thumb on the table thing etc etc. The funny part was the spanish guys really didn't get the rules, so that was a crack up!! And, as we were drinnking here I still got to bed at a reasonable hour!
Today I wandered around and did some shopping. If anyone likes Tintin I saw a plastic model of him and snowy for 1250 euro. Spare change eh??? There must be some serious collectors to have that sort of thing in a shop!! Did you know also that the Smurfs are from Belgium??? They are actually called the Schtoumpf. I learned that the other day in the comic book museum.
This afternoon in the main square in town there is the Brussels Jazz Marathon. It's actually three days of concerts, with 250 gigs all around the city in different venues and clubs. It was pretty good, but it was starting to rain and I was cold so I came home.....
Heeeaaaps of people though. Brussels is pretty into it's jazz...
Anyway, I have to pack etc as tomorrow I am off to Paris!!!
Auvoir