Thursday, 16 June 2011

Far less phlegmish in Flemish

For the first time, blogging from a stationary position!

I am currently in Mannheim, Germany accompanied by my lovely ginger friend Sarah! "Mannheim?" you might say, "why the heck are you in Mannheim?" well, to be honest, we chose this city for the most noble of reasons. 1. I looked up prize winning German Rieslings (sweet white wine for those of you less cultured like myself). 2. There were two from the town of Diedlehorf (or something to that affect). 3. The name Diedlehorf made me giggle. 4. Mannheim was the closest major city with cheap accommodation. So, we chose Mannheim, but I will not write about our German adventures until later.

Where I last left off was on the train to Bruges. Now the Belgians are a slightly more Androgynous looking people than the gorgeous Dutch, but are incredibly friendly and have a superb taste in food and drink - mussels, chocolate, waffles, fries, and beer! The first night in Bruges we endeavored into 3 of the 5, none of them being the more substantive mussels. This pretty much set the tone for the remainder of our visit. Sunday morning we toured the medieval city and rented bikes for the day. We had an absolutely beautiful ride along the canal to an adorable town called Sluis. We later found out that this 40km bike ride had actually taken us back into Holland. I was quite surprised about the lack of federalis on the border or guards interrogating me about my purchases in Seattle, and the fact that we rode rickety old bikes into a new country without our passports. Either way, it was an amazing day despite the severely bruised sit bones, and we all decided Bruges topped our lists for favourite cities.

Monday we travelled to Brussels where, unfortunately, we sent Kristin packing back to Paris to finally fly home to Canada. Brussels wasn't nearly as pretty as Bruges as we figured out quite quickly after becoming incredibly lost on the transit system. Once we finally found the place we had google mapped (about an hour of lugging around our backpacks in 25 degree weather and 80% humidity) we realized that we had in fact googled the wrong hotel. Just as a side note, always ensure to type the s into hostel otherwise you will be thoroughly disappointed when you show up at the really nice hotel that is not only way nicer than the place you are staying, but also NOT the place you are staying.

Anyways, after finally conceding to call a cab we ended up at the complete dive that was our hostel, but could only laugh into the smoke-smelling pillows in the room at our luck. After a quite night because everything was closed due to yet another national holiday, we started out early the next morning. We took in the sites - more like site - of Brussels and hopped a train to Luxembourg. This site that I speak of is a statue of a  little boy peeing with a fountain coming out of you-know-where. The Brussel-ite, -ians, - sprouts whatever you want to call them, are incredibly proud of this defiant little boy and have someone hired to go and put cute outfits on him a few times a month - very weird. Taking pictures felt almost pedophiliac, but I've attached one for everyone to enjoy.

So, off we went to Luxembourg feeling kind of wrong about the statue and Brussels in general. Luxembourg is very... Quaint. Not a whole lot to see or do, mind you we did end up stumbling through the red light district which was scenic to say the least. The city (Luxembourg city) has a giant valley surrounding it, filled with a gorgeous park. We went for a brisk early morning walk there and climbed the flights of stairs back up into the downtown. Highlights of Luxembourg: easy to walk places, cute, nice church, and good Chinese food. All in all, a nice country to spend a day in.

So now I've reached Mannheim, of which I have promised not to reveal the secrets of until a later date. So far, the trip has been amazing, the people friendly, the company energetic and the languages hilarious. On a simple giggle level, German takes the cake, but Dutch wins the prize for being the language that although impossible to speak, is a charming mixture of things close enough to English that I can get by, and Flemish was just impossible noises that make up a language and has by far the most descriptive name!

As the Von Trapps say... Auf Wiedersehen and Goodnight!

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