Trip Start Sep 05, 2012
27Trip End May 16, 2013
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Where I stayed
Canal House B & B
Our version of some of the film's best scenes:
Climbing the Belfort
366 narrow, claustrophobic steps to the top winding past old bells (the ringing kind, not the sipping iced tea and entertaining gentleman callers kind), thick wooden doors and menacing arrow slits presumably set up to defend against rogue packs of Hun bandits
Contemplating suicide in the park
Well, not so much suicide, I guess, as quietly contemplating the funny smell wafting over from that rowdy group of teenagers loitering in the grass. And strolling. And discussing Mark’s firm belief that all covered playground slides are irretrievably coated in child’s pee. An irrational fear? Or commentary on a Yorkton childhood? Or does he just spend long hours quietly observing strange children urinating? None of our theories proved conclusive, but the pictures of the lake turned out just terrific.
Fleeing a mad gunman by diving out the hotel window into the canal
Ok, this one is tough. We really didn’t do this. But it probably got your attention.
Making out with a con artist on a fairy tale bridge
Well, ex-waitress, anyway
Snorting coke with two manky hookers and a racist dwarf
The snorting part actually didn’t happen that much, and usually it was coming out rather than in, but we did do our fair share of guzzling and even traded Coke for beer on more than one occasion. Laynni and Andie continue to take exception to the “hooker” reference but don’t fool yourself, nobody gets anything for nothing these days. As for the dwarf, well, let’s just say European girls in high heels do their leggy, effortless best to shed a humbling light on Andie’s alleged sixty-four inches.
Shootout in the Fish Market
We were using a Canon
Getting robbed by a skinhead conman
In fact, what happened was the waitress was giving me the eye, so I winked and licked my lips seductively, as I’m wont to do, then her skinhead boyfriend appeared over my shoulder all cocky and Mario Lopez-y, so I spit partially chewed cheese in his eye, kicked the shit out of him and his Club Brugge jersey, stole some Ibuprofen out of his girlfriend’s sequined mini-purse, got drunk and wandered reflectively among all the haunting medieval churches and got down to some real thorough Belgian lace doily shopping. Then, after that, none of that actually happened.
We drank a lot of Belgian beer and spent a lot of time meandering through mesmerizing little alleys, pondering picturesque yet sluggish windmills, gazing pensively down murkily reflective canals and barging through busy plazas teeming with looming Dutch day trippers and skeptical French people shopping doggedly for good bargains on striped clothing, jaunty scarves and shiny new Flemish dildos
All movie tourism aside, before Bruges we had arrived in Brussels where we enjoyed a pleasant start thanks to the friendly and helpful woman at airport info desk, friendly and helpful taxi driver, friendly and helpful Fedex guy who shipped our hiking gear off to western France to wait for us until the beginning of October and a guy named Jan with tight white jeans and surprisingly hairy forearms who suggested I try a traditional Belgian specialty of ice cream sprinkled with chocolate wrapped in a waffle cone and eaten while kneeling on a lace doily. It translates into English as Sweet Belgian Mouth Cream. Hey, it's no weirder than a naked child called Mannekin Pis urinating exuberantly into the air becoming the symbol of Brussels. All in all, the only thing that could have improved our visit was if, while wandering the suburbs of Brussels in search of a train station, we had found a hat in the ditch with a picture of a donkey drinking moonshine.
After Bruges we actually spent a night back in Brussels, arriving amid one of reputedly many festival type celebrations held regularly in the magnificent Grand Place (and no, that’s not a typo), what turned out to be a strange mix of classical renditions of eighties pop songs, vigorous square dancing and tourists getting their photos taken with three American WWII jeeps and supposed soldiers dressed appropriately for that time period, but clearly not ours. Just a few blocks down from that assault on logic we found a large gathering of young slackers and irritatingly lanky bikers enjoying a “Take Back the City” rally. It seemed to be promoting cycling and walking as opposed to driving environmentally intrusive vehicles. I’m not sure where all the pot and b.o
Unfortunately, we had a flight to Croatia scheduled for the following morning and were unable to stick around for the remainder of the week’s “Take Back the-” itinerary:
Take Back the Waiting Room – smoking cigarettes and reading Life magazine while waiting to have a meat blockage surgically removed from your small intestine.
Take Back the Sitcom – helpful laugh tracks and weekly moral lessons like how giving in to peer pressure can lead to young Sarah getting double-teamed by the Anderson brothers from down the block.
Take Back Sexual Innuendo in the Workplace – reintroduction of terms like “Babe” and phrases such as “Why don’t you grab us some coffee, Sweet Cheeks?” and “Are your high beams always on or were you just thinking about my cock?”
Think on that. Next up from Croatia!
And for those in need of a much more thorough and time consuming plod through my inappropriate thoughts and far ranging travels please check out my book Random Acts of Travel : Featuring Trepidation, Hammocks and Spitting.