Bruges, Belgium
(photos behind this link)

After our stay in Amsterdam we packed up and left for Bruges, Belgium. This stop on our journey came recommended to us by my co-worker. We did some research and thought it would a good interim before Paris.

We took the #17 tram in Amsterdam to Central Station. Using our rail pass we negotiated passage on a train to Antwerp with a connection to Bruges. After a few hours we were there. We headed to the taxi stand to catch a cab to the Hotel Patritius. As Cynthia was entering the cab she slipped and hit her head on the door frame. Since she was off balance she pulled up and out smashing her nose.

It did not bleed immediately. Cynthia’s eyes were wide and she looked to be in shock. She kept apologizing and I was pretty worried. I instructed the cab driver to take us to the nearest hospital which he did. On the way Cynthia’s nose began to bleed pretty good. I assured her we would be ok and that we were going to get some help. We got to the hospital pretty quickly. I sent Cynthia inside and I paid the cabbie and grabbed our bags. Already the decision to pack only backpacks was paying off.

I hustled into the hospital just behind Cynthia and we talked to the admission nurse. Cynthia is admitted pretty quickly after they look at our passports and I jot down our home address. They let me go back with her.

By this time Cynthia is bleeding quite a bit and we are pretty sure her nose is broken. The nurse gives us some paper towels to clean up and it’s not long before a technician is taking her back to x-ray. When Cynthia comes back she sits with me and we clean her up. Soon a doctor comes in and informs us that the nose is not broken. This is good news. She gets a nurse to come back and bandage the wound on the outside of her nose the internal bleeding slows quite a bit.

The nurse did not speak English very well but he read the chart and seeing where we were from looked up, smiled and said: “Houston, have a problem!” .

The hospital gave us a copy of the x-rays and told us they would send a bill (which we still have not received). They called us a cab and we went to the hotel. Cynthia’s spirits we already picking back up.

We made it to the hotel and checked in. After that we needed to find a pharmacy to fill the prescription for pain killers the doctor gave us. Turns out it was extra strength ibuprofen. I had Advil in my bag! Oh well.

Bruges is a beautiful city. Filled with old world charm you can easily be transported back in time just looking at the buildings and walking the streets.

In the center of the Market stands the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck. The statue honors these two leaders of the ‘Battle of the Golden Spurs’ which took place on the 11th of July 1302.

It wasn’t long before we found the Dumon Chocolate Shop. Quite possibly the most famous hand made chocolate shop in Europe. The prices were great and Cynthia stocked up. This cheered her up even more.

Bruges is so charming and it was pleasant to explore. There was a great Internet cafe near Our Lady’s Church. This church has the distinction of housing the Madonna with Child created by Michelangelo. It’s a lovely marble sculpture and there are no real crowds to speak of.

Despite the tragedy this was an excellent stop. The charm and the chocolate went a long way. We drank some lambics, I smoked a Cohiba Cuban cigar…it was nice. Cynthia even took the time to climb the 300+ steps to the top of the bell tower on our second day there.

Next stop, Paris!

European Oddessey – Bruges
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