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Saturday, January 15, 2011

So are we speaking French, or are we speaking German here?

In the spirit of further chronicling our honeymoon, and keeping with my brief vacation from the everyday, next topic on the love list: Brugge!
Brugge's nickname: Little Venice, due to all the canals that run through the city.

So far, my posts have been wildly out of order, as this was our last major activity on the old 'moon. After five days in Paris, we hopped on a train and headed to Brussels, where Chad's coworker insisted we take yet another train out of the city to visit the romantic town of Brugge.

A little history on our destination: It's one of the oldest cities in Europe, and in order to maintain the novelty of the village, no buses or major transportation unit is allowed within the city limits. Battles from WWII were fought within the city walls, and in order to facilitate those crazy snipers, architects fashioned buildings with tiny windows toward the top floors so that they can shoot whoever was coming down the canals. Morbid, eh? Onto happier aspects!

Since I knew this was one of the oldest cities in all of Europe, I felt it was appropriate to wear a happy, sunny dress, which, looking back, may or may not have been channeling Maria Von Trapp . . .
As soon as I looked as if I could burst into song with "The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music," I was set. The city was so darn cute, it made me want to skip through the streets. It still blows me away how old everything is in Europe. The cobblestone had been laid over 400 years ago! While we were there, for some reason, nobody was out on the streets. We were literally the only two outdoors. The city was insanely quiet, so it felt a little bit like we were trespassing on some holy ground or something. While quietly making our way through the streets, we were attempting to navigate our way to St. Catherine's Cathedral, which houses Michael Angelo's Madonna and Child in white marble (my dad is an artist on the side, so I know a thing our two about the masterpieces!). The steeple towered over everything, so one would think it would be easy to find, but we somehow got lost and ended up walking through a few back allies. Anywhere else in Europe, that would have freaked me out, but Brugge looked so pleasant, there was no way something bad could have happened! Anyway, us getting lost was actually a great thing because it brought us to the city's main square.
As you can see, it looked like Disneyland. In fact, the locals say that it feels as if they live in Disneyland. While Chad and I took in the sights, checked out the outrageously expensive menus for the restaurants surrounding the square, and balked at the 100 euro horse-drawn carriage tour, we decided it was time to fully take in the culture and chow down. We read somewhere prior to our trip that the restauranteurs of the city served various shell fish straight from the canals, so after walking out of the main square, we found a restaurant to take a seat at. We ordered a couple of beers and started discussing which language these Brugge-folk spoke on a normal basis. I was certain they spoke German, but Chad was dead set that they spoke French. We couldn't figure it out, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. "Don't worry," I told Chad, "I'll just ask our waiter." Big mistake. Take it from me, if you are ever not certain which language is spoken within any given country, google it, rent a library book, do anything but ask a native.

"Hi, the people here speak German, right?" Now, I'm sure there were a million other more graceful ways to ask that question, but I was positive they spoke German! Oh, man. He whipped his head towards me and, quite angrily, semi-yelled, "Well! If you would like to speak to a German man, go to Germany!" His eyes were piercing into my soul. I felt my face heat up, and, attempting to back pedal, said, "Oh, that's right."

So my question was never answered. To this day I have no idea what the heck language is spoken in that city. Chad laughed at me, and I learned how important it is to brush up on your facts while travelling the world. Lesson learned.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch, and we had a great time. We sat by the Lake of Eternal Vows, saw Madonna and Child, ate Belgium chocolate like fiends, and saw a black swan. I definitely recommend any future honeymooners to make Brugge a priority, as it a) encompasses old Europe, b) provides you with many a photo-opp, and c) allows the unsuspecting young bride to look like an idiot and offend even the calmest of locals.

Here is the only picture we got with the two of us, and yes, my eyes are shut. At least my Parisian purse and Von Trapp outfit looked glorious!

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