Today we started out meeting at the train station Starbucks for a one hour train ride to Brugges. Along the way, a lot of us studied for our upcoming “security” quiz which was to take place at the College of Europe conference room once we got there. However, upon our arrival we were informed that there was not a room ready for us, so instead we took the quiz sitting against one of the canals. It wasn’t too bad. Immediately after, we hopped aboard a canal tour which was to take us through the city. One of the first things the tour guide said was that we were not to trust her, because as she was not an officially train tour guide, everything she was about to tell us could have possibly been a lie or myth. Either way, she did have some very interesting facts to offer.
~For one, the bell tower in the city’s center leans exactly one meter to the right.
~Religion was very important in this city, which is why the 7 words of charity were engraved on the city’s gable.
~At one point all of the swans in the city were kept together in confinement because they were believed to have carried a disease, and upon release there existed a social hierarchy with certain swans dominating other inferior swans.
~At one point we passed by a statue of Nyobi, who was laying down looking into the river. She apparently was the extremely proud mother to 14 children, but lived to see the slaughter of all of them because she wasn’t humble enough. And thus, she cried so much that her tears created a river. So we were wading through Nyobi’s tears.
~Animals on the tops of buildings were carved there so that they would scare away ghosts.
After the boat tour, we went our separate ways to get lunch. The place that a few others and I went to was like a fast food pasta place. Quite good and filling for only 5 euros. After that we did some walking around, and ended up at a bakery that served some delicious cakes and tartes. Very delicious. At this point it started raining, so for the rest of the time we just walked around. We saw the city center with the market area, as well as the bell tower (although we didn’t go inside.) It was a very cute little town, and had a nice sort of charm to it. In a way in reminded me of a smaller version of Amsterdam, at least with the canals and the way it set up. Although it was definitely is a mix between French and Dutch cultures, there was definitely a strong German vibe there.