Gruuthuse Hof, Mariastraat, is where we had our tea the first night. Very nice it was too, although I got the idea the waiter was growing weary of his lot in life. Not helped by me swinging my arm into the too-low light-shade and bringing a massive card disc tumbling out of it. I caught it because I'm ace, and it was mildly diverting I suppose, but not as exciting as the assembled diners' reactions suggested.
Probably out with their husbands or wives as part of a last-gasp attempt at saving something that's been dead for years - trying to use the electrical charge of my presence to reanimate the corpse of long dead love. Yes I saw you, sitting in silence, praying for something to happen. And then you saw me with a sleeve-full of light shade and thought 'this is it! Look, Sheila! Sheila! Did you see that? That bloke just hit the lampshade! Ha ha ha! You see - life isn't so bad after all! Look at him! He's trying to dislodge himself and he stood on that woman's foot! Now the waiter's involved and he's saying the bracket's missing and the shade won't go back in without it! He has to find the bracket and the bloke's saying well he hasn't got time for that and the waiter's saying he can't get another one because they don't make those shades any more! Sheila, are you watching this love? Oh I do love you, my darling! I've been a fool to doubt it. To hell with it, let's have pudding!'
Sheila's leaving you.
|Look at the flash on that!|
That cheap stuff they have - Jupiler - is better than the draft lagers in our pubs. Step up to the local brew, Bruges Zot (the only one brewed in the city apparently) and it's miles better. Up it again to any number of ace ones - just take a punt, you can't miss - and you see just how shit British pubs are. As Mrs Biff said, beer in British pubs is merely functional. Cue some beardy nob, saying 'actually that's not beer, old titsonians scribbleplop is beer, you're on about lager.' Stick it up your tank top, wanker.
Also ace for beer, but less so for the beer-bores it attracts, is t Brugs Beertje (beerhouse, I think that means), Kemelstraat. They have tons of beers, including some real super strength gateway-to-hell stuff. There was a real disparate bunch of English oddballs when we were in there. One lad, as soon as his beer came (in half a coconut shell) declared the smell alone was 'to die for'. Don't be fucking stupid, egghead.
And lastly, cycling is ace beacause it's actually pleasant. It would never occur to me to ride my bike in this country for leisure, at very low speeds. But it's perfect in Bruges, big old cycle lanes with plenty of room for walkers and bikes. And, like Amsterdam, the cars give way to you because the law's on your side. Biking round by the windmills on the east of the city and then coming back into town was just brilliant.
There's a bike hire gaff on Mariastraat, it's €4 an hour, €8 for four hours, and I think €12 for the day.
|Curried mussells and chips|
Oh aye, I got to see Arsenal tumble out of the European Cup with a typical display of grace and dignity from Arsene 'it wasn't me' Wenger. And there seems to be a fair bit of free wifi around, if like me you don't fancy paying O2's outrageous rip off roaming prices. They also sell Bugles - dead nice crisps - and the people seem to be generally friendly too. Also ace.
|A thing for horses to drink from that's shaped like a horse's head|