Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Bruges

I’ve seen a lot of movies. To the point that I can go to the video store and honestly say that I have seen almost everything in the New Release section. A while ago, to overcome this dilemma, I began randomly selecting movies from the weekly rentals section. I simply closed my eyes and pulled out a DVD until I came across one that I was yet to see. As a result, I saw a lot of terrible movies, however, I also saw some good ones.

One of these was ‘In Bruges’. Colin Farrell plays a hit man that is sent to the city of Bruges in Belgium, to await his fate after a botched mission. It involves a suicidal assassin that falls in love with a French movie maker after getting caught stealing a midget actors car whilst drunk and falling asleep at the wheel but this has no relevance to my story. In the movie, Bruges is touted as a mystical city that is plagued with history and portrayed as a fairytale village from the middle ages. There are cobbled streets, horse carriages, ferries that take you up and down the canals and old clock towers and churches. After seeing the movie, I had always thought that I would love to go to Bruges if ever given the opportunity. Last week I had the opportunity.

Between two races in Germany and France, we had a 2 day pit stop in Dessel, Belgium, a short 2hr drive from Bruges. We made the journey and had a bit of a tourist day. We saw the cobble streets, the horse carriages, the ferries, the old buildings, churches and clock towers. The downside to our trip was that about 10000 other people had the same idea. It seems that Bruges is renowned for its history and tourists flock there with cameras in hand. It distracted a little from the ‘fairytale village’ but you need to look through it.

To make the journey a little easier on my already tired legs, we hired a tandem bicycle to get around on. We did get some strange looks as we navigated the cobbles but it was worth it. A brief stop at the ‘Wall of Beers’ by the canal called for sampling of the world renowned Belgian beer and truffles before a dinner of traditional Belgian muscles (apparently).

To be honest, I never thought I would ever actually get to see Bruges and I was pleasantly surprised to be able to make the trip. After standing in buildings that are older than Australia itself, it gives some perspective of the history in Europe and Australia’s lack of it.

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