Saturday, 11 June 2011

Ze French continued and da Dutch

Once more, on the train.
This time to Bruges. Just finished up a great visit with a very close family friend, Mandy, in Brittany. We shopped and toured and gossiped and ate and drank, it was tres fun! The area we were in was vey rural and so cute. The people were quite friendly but did the usual switch to english the moment I ask a question in french. Like the other Gaelic provinces in Europe they spoke their own language (similar to Welsh or Cornish) which made my comprehension skills even worse than usual.

We had some amazing food (this is where crepes came from) and some very good wine. Also had a lot of fun entertaining Mandy's old English sheepdog Belle. She is nearly the size of a Shetland pony and still has all her puppy energy, which can be a little intimidating while playing fetch and she comes barreling back straight at you.
I had a fantastic time with Mand, but like most our visits, they end way too quickly. I think I've convinced them of a Vancouver visit soon though. If not, I guess I'll just have to go back and do more shoe shopping - it's a tough life, but someone's got to live it.

Next stop Amsterdam, and as I didn't post this in Amsterdam, I can also discuss that stop.
I took the train from Auray in France to Amsterdam (a lot of travel) but met up with Kristin and Sarah (watermelon) who I work with at Deloitte. Now, Amsterdam is a pretty unique city. The main train station spits you out into the red light district about 3 blocks from the working ladies. Decided not to take the scenic route to the hostel and hopped a tram. The first night we caught up over some ice cold Amstel as there was a lot to catch up on - Sarah just graduated from Dal and Kristin just finished up her final semester exchange in Paris.
The hostel we were staying in was pretty big 16 girls to a room which got a little obnoxious.
The next morning, after a very eclectic breakfast of mini Dutch pancakes and tomato soup, we headed out to explore the pride of Amsterdam; the Heineken brewery. It was a pretty great tour that spat you back into daylight around 2:00 feeling a little pickled and trying to figure out what to do with your life for the rest of the day. We opted for a nap and a pub crawl - solid choices I know! Friday was a bit of a late start followed by a huge pancake brunch, like pizza sized pancakes. We spent the rest of the day toodling around the city, visiting the red light district (pretty depressing) and finally finding the long sought after IAMsterdam sign.

Somehow my map skills deteriorated and my Dutch reading was not very good, which resulted in a long walk back to the hostel. At night we sampled a few more Dutch beers, and finished off with a riveting cribbage match.

So that sums up the past week, onto Bruges, Brussels, Luxembourg and Germany. So far I have tripped an unimaginable amounts of times on the cobble stones, not fallen into any canals, and prevented Sarah from being hit by numerous modes of transportation (scooters, bikes, bicycles, cars and trucks).

Having lots of fun but still a little homesick.
For now - Proost!

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