The one and only Retsin's Lucifernum
Trip Start Jun 15, 2010
38Trip End Sep 15, 2010
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Where I stayed
On the 'local's map' of Bruges that you get when you arrive in the hostel, there is a place marked on there called 'Willy's Place' (aka Lucifernum) - and the description just sounded too cool to pass up! So off i ventured, looking for this place down a wee alleyway with a 'sculpture' out the front (just scaffolding, really, but he likes to think of it as art!). When i finally found the place, i was greeted with two rather large, imposing black wooden doors, with a bell - so i rang and waited. While i was waiting to see if i would be let in (apparently he's really choosy on who he lets in) i realised that i really did look like a tourist - back pack, camera, hat, walking shoes and map in hand. Oh, great! Anyhoo, the next thing i know, i hear this bang of wood, and a (bit of a mad) voice - i look up to see a face peeking through a tiny wooden opening in the door that i hadn't noticed before, exclaiming to come back at 9pm! Righto, i say - whilst also making a mental note to go back in not so touristy attire
9pm rolls around, and i try to coerce some other backpackers along - alas, no one else wants to venture out with me (damn world cup!) so away i trondle on my lonesome.... (this time in much better attire!)
I arrive, to be greeted by a lady (who at first i thought was a mannequin, as she was sitting so still!) paid my €5 to get in (which includes a drink, so not so bad) and ventured into the weird and wonderful world that is Lucifernum. What greets me is, for lack of better words, strangely wonderful. There are mannequin heads and those old 'cigar men' dotted around the walls - artworks (apparently painted by Willy) lining the hall, and rather strange but very chilled music playing. I pick out a table that would suffice for 'people watching', order my drink from the rum only menu of rum with 3 shots of curaco (yes, rocket fuel!) and sit back to take in what is around me.
Everywhere i look there is something mad but cool adorning the walls - and quite grand walls at that, as it used to be the old Mayor's house, so the building in itself is rather fantastic. About an hour passes, and i'm finally at the end of my drink (yes, it was about 1 part mix, and 50 parts alcohol!) and thinking of calling it an early night (travel budget and all) when a musical duo head over to the piano and start to play - what better reason to stay! So i order another rocket fuel (yep, still at €5 but worth it i think) and settle in to relax with the tunes.
The more interesting and alternate people of Bruges seem to call this place home - and then you can tell who are the newcomers like me - wandering in with their mouth open in awe at what surrounds them - but everyone settles down to enjoy their comfortable and pleasant surroundings and slowly sip the night away....
Upon leaving, i was greeted again by Willy, who was keen for me to explore the upstairs area (more weird and wonderful stuff lining the walls) and to go ahead and take as many photos as i liked -and invited me to go back whenever i liked. Exiting the door into the rainy night (early morning, actually!) i felt like i was leaving a dream world - not drunk from the rum (how, i do not know!) but buzzing from the vibe of the place.I will always remember the weird and wonderful place of Lucifernum in Bruges - and will definitely be back one day to experience it all again!