Just posting a few pics from our Christmas voyage.
I was a little afraid I wasn’t going to like Bruges because so many people have told me what a tourist trap it is. Umm, whatever, it was amazing!! Okay, so it was really cold and snowing but the city was so cute. We stayed at a hostel called Snuffle and our room was inside another room. You literally had to walk through one room to get to ours and most people didn’t even realize it was there when we popped out. Our little annex would’ve been great except it was a four-bed room so we weren’t on our own.
We mainly just walked around the city. It was so cute though, especially with the freshly fallen snow the next morning. We walked along a canal and then to the windmills where a lot of locals had taken their children to go sledding. Oh, and I got to see the Basilica of the Holy Blood where they claim to have a vial of Christ’s blood. Who knows if its really true, but we timed it just right so I was able to walk up and see it. Its in this really fancy vial, but is a gross, thick, reddish brown. The church itself was quite small, but very pretty. We also walked to Minnewater (Love Lake) which was gorgeous as well. I’m sure Bruges is amazing in the summer, but I’d take less tourists and snow any day.
When we were leaving Bruges is when the snowstorm of the century hit Europe. Okay, so maybe not of the century, but it shut most of the region we were in down. We were supposed to switch trains in Brussels, but when we arrived, everything to Amsterdam was canceled (which it took us a least an hour in line to find out). Major Bummer. Of course I didn’t have any credit on my French pay-as-you-go phone (boo!), so I couldn’t call another assistant who was in Brussels. We did manage though to use some sketchy Internet at the train station and find a hostel. We were so exhausted from traveling and carrying our bags around forever we thought it would be late when we got to the hostel, nope only 8.
The next morning we got up early hoping there would be trains going to Amsterdam again. No luck. This time we waited about 2 hours in line to find out what we should do. In the mean time we met a guy from Chicago who had to get to Amsterdam as well. He had his laptop with him and was trying to buy a Thalys ticket (magically, the more expensive trains were running), which we were getting ready to do when it was our turn. The guy at the counter told us to take a train to Antwerp and from there we might be able to get a bus to the border. We really had nothing to loose at this point, so the three of us went off on our day long journey to Amsterdam.
Brussels->Antwerp-> Roosendaal->Rotterdam->Leiden->Schiphol Airport->Amsterdam
Thats how many times we had to switch trains. Who knows why you couldn’t just get a train directly there, but every station we went to, we just got sent to another city. But we made it!
We stayed at the Flying Pig Hostel, but they sort of ripped us off. Since we didn’t make it the first night and emailed instead of calling, they canceled our reservations. When they saw our email they remade them, but for a much more expensive room. Jerks. The hostel itself was okay though. Amsterdam’s canals were very lovely and I really liked seeing Anne Frank’s house. It wasn’t my most favorite city, but I’d go back in the sumer for a bike ride.