June 18, 2010

In Bruges

Despite being told repeatedly by Colin Farrell that Bruges is a shitty place to be while watching In Bruges, I felt like I should pay the Belgian town a visit. Since I arrived in the Nord, everyone here has told me that Bruges is the Venice of the North. Because Belgium is a hop, skip, and a jump away, FBF and I decided to take the 45 minute drive and enjoy one of Europe's best preserved medieval towns.

Yet again I enjoyed better weather while traveling to somewhere further north than I usually experience in Lille. Why is it always so grey and rainy in the Nord-Pas-De-Calais?

Interesting medieval Belgian architecture and blue sky!

Upon arrival, we found the tourist information center and picked ourselves up a map. The use-it.be free map had this to say in it's 5 minutes of history section,
"2009: The movie 'In Bruges' wins an award for best scenario. Quote: 'If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn't, so it doesn't.' So just like in 1892, somebody calls Bruges a shithole, which attracts only more tourists."

The bell tower from the movie.

Not only were we in a beautiful city, but we were in Belgium! This quickly translated into the fact that delicious, cheap Belgian beer needed to be drunk stat! We found a bar with practically every single Belgian beer immaginable, called 'T Brugs Beertje.

We walked in and I was immediately intimidated. There was the barkeep, an old couple, and a middle-aged man in the bar.

They were all speaking Flemish.

Half of Belgium speaks Flemish, and the other half speaks French. On the drive up to Bruges, FBF scared me out of speaking French, as the Flemish speaking part of Belgium apparently hates the French speaking side. I said,"hello," and quickly retreated to the second room in the bar.

Both rooms were covered from head to toe in beer advertisements, and the bar had a million different types of glasses on display to go with its million different beers. Before sitting down, I decided to be courageous, and we took a seat at a table in the room with all the Flemish speakers.

When the bartender came over to take our order, I stuck with English, but FBF ordered in French. I think we confused the man a little bit, but luckily he got our orders right. I ordered a Barbar, which was delicious. It had a touch of honey in it.

Such Belgian-y goodness!

According to our handydandy use-it.be map/travel guide, I knew that in Bruges one days not say "santé!" for cheers like the rest of Belgium, but instead "up je mulle!" This translates into "on your face!"

Not having any clue how to pronounce "up je mulle" in Flemish, I asked the bartender if he could pronounce it for us. He read the word I was pointing at, laughed, and said it out loud. He then said, "Don't go around saying that, though! It's what you say between good friends, but if you say it to a stranger it's really offensive. I said it to a guy once in a bar, and he punched me in the face."


  1. I like this one. Maybe one day we can have a Beligum Beer. Dad

  2. Thanks Mom!

    Dad, I'm sure we can find some Belgian beer while I'm in CA!

  3. Cute! I like reading about how others saw Bruges too!

  4. Brilliant blog!

    Hilarious and just about enough details :p And apparently famous as well, coz i read it off a couple of handouts here ;] (Yeah, im in bruges). So i thought id try and find out who the author was :p

    Cheers, and keep writing.


  5. Scharyf: Thank you! I had no idea my writing was on handouts... do you know which ones? What for?

    I hope you're enjoying Bruges!


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