D and I finally made it to Brugge after what seemed like an eternity of travel. Flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. Another flight from Abu Dhabi to Brussels. Train from Brussels Airport to Ghent. Another train from Ghent to Brugge. We were then promptly ripped off by a rather intimidating-looking man driving an un-metered taxi* before arriving at our apartment, which was meant to be ready but was not. At this point I quite possibly could have killed for a shower, but instead, we each just brushed our teeth, got changed, grabbed our cameras and went out for a walk.
* So you always read in the guide books etc about avoiding unmetered taxis, and I always wondered why anyone would get into an unmetered taxi, but the reality is, once you are in a position to realise that you are in an unmetered taxi, your luggage is already locked in the boot of the car and the driver has pulled away from the kerb, leaving you with few options but to sit there and fret. This particular
jerk guy charged us 20 euro for a very short trip which, not knowing any better, we supposed was alright until we made the return trip at the end of our stay, when our very friendly and kind driver apologised profusely for having been caught in traffic and the resultant 9 euro fare. Sigh.
Despite that somewhat inauspicious start, I was completely unprepared for the beauty of Brugge - the swans gliding along the perfectly still canals in the early morning, the bells chiming throughout the city, the cobblestone streets, the architecture and, of course, the chocolate! ... D and I couldn't quite believe it; it was like wandering around in a sort of fairytale. From speaking to a few locals it is, by all accounts, a completely frenzied nightmare in summer, but I have to say that autumn was a really great time to visit. The early evening mist, the falling leaves ... just stunning.
I have way too many photos to share so am splitting them into two posts :)