This is a blog series about my European Tour 2009. Each blog post will have at least one song accompanied with it. Please read day 1, day 2 & day 3 before proceeding. If you haven’t downloaded the soundtrack for this blog series, please do so here. Song to be played while reading this blog post: Rogue Wave – Harmonium.
There’s something to be said about riding the train in Europe. I love them. A European trip would not be complete without a nice long train ride as you weave through the countryside. And on this gray and drizzling day, I was taking the train to Bruges, the Venice of the north.
Upon the leaving the train station, I realized that I had no map and no idea where I was going. Pausing to evaluate my situation, I couldn’t help but crack a smile. I’m in Europe with no purpose or set goal except to have an adventure. Why ruin the mystery and adventure now with a map? With that, I took my first step of my adventure in Bruges.
Stepping foot into the outer edge of town, I knew I would be in for a treat. Bruges is as beautiful as everyone I’ve heard describe it. The Venice of the north. The gem of Belgium. A city untouched by time and unmatched by beauty. I was not disappointed.
Wandering Bruges in the gray damp weather did not hamper my mood. It felt like I was walking back in time. Every corner there was something magical; from the slow trot of horse drawn carriages, the worn cobblestone streets, and the beautiful canals cutting through the city; I could not be bothered. Even when the downpour began, I happily danced in the rain and pranced through the streets. Standing in the town square during the middle of the rain as I wanted for it to pass, I was left in awe at the majesty of this beautiful Belgian town. How could you not love it?
I already knew that this trip was going to be great based on my amazing adventure on the first day. But holy hell, the pouring rain, the cold chilly air and being drenched in the middle of a medieval European town not even breaking my mood? That’s when I realized that I was falling back in love. I was falling in love with life again.
The rain soon stopped and the sun broke through the clouds as I stood in the square, smiling…truly smiling for the first time in a long time. With that smile, I continued to wander in this beautiful town of Bruges. I sought uncharted streets and got lost.
Before I left, I made sure I took a boat ride on the canals of Bruges. At first I though against it due to my limited cash supply because of my lost debit card, but then I though better since I didn’t know when I would return. I’m glad I did.
Floating along the serene canals of Bruges, I was able to see everything I wanted to see once again, and more. As we weaved between the many other boats and ducking our heads over the extremely low bridges, I could help but to widen my smile. I have fallen in love with Europe before and here I am falling in love again. But this time it’s different. I’m falling in love with life too. Everything was perfect.
So apparently Europeans start their week on their calendar with Monday and not Sunday. That meant I booked my Stella Artois brewery tour on Tuesday and today is Monday, my last day in Belgium. Oops! Oh well, as I have learned already on this trip, things will go wrong but it’s going to be okay and I’m going to make the best of it. Sure enough, I did the next best thing…drink! (Come on, I’m in Belgium. It’s a dead given.)
I found my way to the Oude Markt in Leuven and sat down. That afternoon, I did nothing but enjoyed life. Oh yeah, and drank many delicious after delicious Belgian brews. I had my journal to record my pondering thoughts from the trip. I had postcards to write and send. And I had myself, sitting in Leuven, Belgium enjoying life to it’s fullest.
Three days in Belgium and I have fallen in love. It was very hard that night to say goodbye to my amazing Belgian hosts: Lotte, Staf, Annemie, Edward & Lieselotte. I cooked dinner for them and thank them for their wonderful hospitality. When I finally parted at the Leuven train station, I couldn’t help to feel sad for a moment. One part of my adventure was over and it was amazing. But the next part is about to begin.