This morning we woke up and had breakfast at 8 am. Paula said she would give us a ride to the bus stop, and we were scheduled to pick up our rental car by 10 am. We had a great breakfast and bid farewell to her. I loved the peacefulness of that farm. If I headed back to the area, I would totally stay there again and explore the towns nearby. It was also very easy to take the bus into Amsterdam. We noticed yesterday how one minute we were in the "country," and then all of a sudden, in the city. Paula told us that cities like Amsterdam have limits and most cities in Amsterdam don't have the urban sprawl like ours. It was crazy!
Paula dropped us off at the end of their road, which is where the bus stop is located
The bus pulled up and we started to get on. I told the driver we needed 4 one-way tickets to Central Station, and he just motioned for us to get on. We saw other people who got on the bus flash their cards, so we were pretty sure that it wasn't a free ride day or anything. We came to two possible conclusions: 1) the driver looked at us, clearly saw we were tourists, and didn't want us holding up the show with selling and swiping tickets or 2) he saw Somalia and didn't want to deal with him
We decided that John would do the driving because he wanted to and can drive stick shift, which is the norm over here. We also made sure we had GPS, which was a huge help. The Netherlands highways are well constructed, smooth and well made. No bumps, no pot holes, excellent engineering on the turns. The Belgian roads felt similar. It took us a little over 2.5 hours to arrive at our cute B and B in Bruges. It's a loft that sleeps six, with wooden beams and old, hardwood floors. It has a ton of character! We met Frieda, the owner, and her husband, Benno, who were very welcoming.
We had a brewery tour scheduled at De Halve Mann, so we ventured out. The weather was interesting today - one minute the sun would be shining, and the next there would be rain/sleet. This changed about 8 different times. We walked to The Burg and bought some Belgian waffles with chocolate and berries, then made our way to the Markt, the big marketplace. Before this, Dad liked Bruges but was still feeling partial to Amsterdam. Once we hit the market with the big bell tower, he said, "well Jamie, this is pretty impressive, too." After our brewery tour, we sat and had our free beer. He said he wasn't expecting these cities to be so impressive. He really wasn't sure what to expect, but so far everything has exceeded his expectations. He said, "where in the U.S. would you see anything remotely like this?" Agreed.
Tomorrow we are off to Bayeux, France, in the Normandy region.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. We were happy to read online that our brother Jeff's wrestling team from Kaukauna won its third consecutive state title on Saturday night. The match was going on when we were already sleep! If we hadn't been in Europe, we would've been in Madison, cheering them on. :)
Beer & Bruges
Sunday, March 06, 2016
Brugge, West Flanders, Belgium