Hooray to Ryanair. I am in one of my spur-of-the-moment-buy-a-Ryanair-ticket-to-somewhere moments again. It hasn’t been a week since I arrived from an exhausting trip to Bergen. I haven’t really fully recovered yet and I’ve really only begun to slowly get back into my Copenhagen rhythm. Yet here I am out of the country again.
I am now in Belgium. My husband and I arrived today from an 8:40 am Ryanair flight out of Copenhagen to Charleroi and waited an hour for a 2-hour bus ride from the Charleroi airport to Bruges (see Fibco here, if you are thinking of following in our footsteps). Both the flight and the bus ride were uneventful (which is a good thing!). The bus had a toilet stall, which, for the duration of the entire ride, was kept locked. Hence, the recommendation (emphasis included!) to use the toilet before boarding the bus.
Like my so far gone teenage years, I am currently staying a hostel. Having lived and grown close to home, Andrew has never stayed in a hostel (there was never a need for one) and I wanted to give him that experience. Hostels are also a great way to save money on non-conference trips that are not funded by grant money (*cheeky grin*). We’re currently staying in an 8-bed dorm at St. Christopher’s Bauhaus Hostel. The walls are thin and people from the bar below can be heard from the room, but the place is clean, breakfast is free, there are lockers to safe keep belongings, a magnetic key is available for each hostel resident, and toilets are stuffed with toilet paper and hand towels. I can totally live here for a few days. Our roommate experience has also been good so far.
We didn’t really get to do much today since we arrived later afternoon. We had late lunch at Artie: Andrew had Fleming beef stew and a dark dead skull beer (Artie’s local beer) while I had ragout chicken and a blonde dead skull beer. Portions were ginormous! I was so full, I wanted to roll back to the hostel. But the food was definitely worth it and the server was courteous and friendly. If you’re in Bruges, I definitely recommend having one of your meals here.
After a very late lunch, we went on a 30-minute canal tour. It was nice to see the city from the water for 8 EUR. Our our guide spoke in three different languages while driving the boat. The views were fantastic, but, to be perfectly honest, I did not find the verbal part of the tour satisfying. I hardly got anything from our tour guide. He spoke fast, mumbled a lot, and it definitely did not help that his speakers were creaky. Too bad for us. Especially for me, since I was very eager to listen and learn from a local.
Our canal tour was followed by a short walk to the Brug Square and the Grote Markt. We saw the the gothic town hall, the belfry of Bruges, and the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, among many other things. We had dinner at a cozy restaurant called One, which seem to be owned by a genuinely friendly couple. I had Flemish beef stew and a dark Trappist beer while Andrew had meatballs and a blonde Trappist beer. Now, the husband is unconscious (and possibly snoring) on Bed 3 and I will soon be unconscious on Bed 4. So far so good.