Monday, October 27, 2008

Rain, bridges, and tunnels

10-3-08 Haarlem to Brugges

Up early and all packed and ready to go after breakfast. Inge brings asst breads, jam, platter of meats and cheeses, vanilla yogurt with granola, hard boiled eggs, OJ and coffee. Can you tell we look forward to our big breakfasts? LOL, the breakfasts are excellent at the B&B’s. We eat small and use some the bread and meats to make sandwiches for lunch again, knowing we will have a long drive.

But first we still have some laundry to do to carry us through until our flight home. We know the Haarlem laundry just blocks away and decide to do it here rather than trying to find one in Brugges at arrival. The owner of the Laundromat was there and she spoke very good English. We started up a conversation and she told us of her recent USA vacation in August. She loved it, it had been her 5th visit. We in turn told her about our trip so far.

Then the conversation got interesting – politics! She could not say enough good things about their socialist society in the Netherlands. She loved paying her high 40% taxes knowing everything was taken care of for her. She told us how all of Europe wanted Obama because he leans toward socialism. We tried to explain how complex it would be for our large country, with state governments involved, and that simply, our govenment doesn’t know how to run a socialist society. Not to mention how many people don’t want it. Interesting talk, but the spin cycle was over, back to the car and we were on the road by 11am.

We drove the scenic route along the North Sea coast seeing a very different side of Holland. The drive took us over one 6 km bridge, complete with bike lane, over a sea inlet and then through a 6.6 km tunnel under one of the sea channels. Ummm yeah, with my fear of bridges over water and tunnels, both fun for me!!!

Ready to start crossing the 6km bridge

. . . and then under the channel for 6.6km - YIKES!

Today's photos

We stopped at a rest stop to eat our lunch around 1pm, drove inland back into Belgium as the rain started again. We arrived in Bruges at 2:30, to pouring rain. Kristen checked us into our room, named the Romantic room. It is on the 3rd floor, in the wood beamed, pitched attic, painted 3 shades of pink, decorated very artsy and eclectic, with a mixture of antique and modern accessories - just beautiful!

One of our fav B&B, The Hobo

We decide that even though it’s raining it’s guts, we have to go out for a walk to see Brugges. We end up walking to the 2 main squares called the Burg Square and the Markt Square with the big Church and Bell Tower and surrounded by restos. Horse carriages gathered in the square for city tour rides, though there weren’t many takers today. We slogged on a little further down a pedestrian lane ducking under store canopies along the way. Finally, after an hour, we were getting soaked to the core and said enough. Headed back to the B&B to dry off and settle in.

We asked Kristin for dinner a recommendation nearby, she said right across the street, a B&B resto. Since we didn’t want to walk in the rain anymore, we crossed the street, and boy were we happy we did. It turned out to be one of the best meals on our trip so far. It is family run with home cooked meals that stick to your ribs. Our plat du jour meal started with a big bowl of homemade veggie soup. Terry ordered white fish in shrimp and lobster cream sauce, rice, salad, and a local Bruges 6% beer called Bruges Zot. I had veal in mushroom cream sauce, country fried potatoes and salad. It was sooooooo good for both of us! The price? E8.35 per meal – we were shocked! About the price of a hamburger in town. Plus the young man who waited on us was friendly and told us about his upcoming visit to CA in November.

Back to the room with contented full bellies and to bed.

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