20140525 Bruges-Brussels

0:30 Bed.

8:00 Up. Packed.

8:40 – 9:05 Breakfast.

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9:20 Checked out, rented a bike and left my luggage. EUR 10.
As expected, the bike was kind of too big for me.

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9:30 Left.

9:45 Crossed the canals and sat down on a bench facing the canal.

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10:30 Started towards the east of the city, where the wind mills were.

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10:40 Broke the bike. Ahahaha.. I was biking uphill toward the wind mill, and the chain came off the gear and got completely stuck between the gear and the wheel. I dragged it up the hill and tried to take the chain out. A British couple came by and tried to help, but was unsuccessful.

10:55 The phone number of the bike shop, Ben’s bike, I received at the hostel turned out to be wrong, and it kept playing a message recorded in French.

I struggled some more, and a group of Greek tourists, an Australian, and an American tourist tried to help. The American apparently did bike racing as a hobby, so I had high hopes, but no. The bike was lifted and turned upside down only to get everybody’s hands dirty. A lady from the Greek tourist group was nice enough to hand out wet wipes to everyone.

11:19 I turned on data on my phone and searched Ben’s bike and called that number. I was told to find a big red brick building (Concert building) that was 5 minutes away from the wind mill. I hadn’t seen it on the way, but I decided to trust the guy and give it a go.

I dragged the bike south and asked a local for directions. He seemed to have some struggle locating the concert building, but eventually remembered and told me to turn and head west.

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12:20 After walking into three different stores and asking for directions, I finally found the concert building. It was near the Lybeer hostel from yesterday, at the WEST END OF THE CITY. Somebody had worse direction than I.
The owner fortunately explained the situation to the boy at the bike shop beforehand, and I was given a new bike. It was even bigger than the first one.

12:25 Walked into a restaurant nearby, called ‘tzand 27. I was totally exhausted from dragging the bike across the entire city. I ordered water, lemonade, and soup. WiFi was pretty good, so I uploaded my pictures. The soup was decent. EUR 9.30.

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14:05 Back on the bike. I biked south, then east, then north, then toward the centre of the city.

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15:05 Burg square.

15:10 Parked my bike at a park nearby.

15:15 Chocolaterie De Burg. I purchased a small pre-packaged box of chocolates. EUR 4.95.

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15:20 Sat down on a bench near the waffle truck. I could smell the waffle and the chocolate.

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16:05 On the bike.

16:15 City gate.

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A suburban-feeling residential area just outside of Bruges.

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16:40 – 16:45 I was biking on a big bridge just south of the city when the chain came off and got stuck for the second time, ugh. I was struggling and almost on the verge of crying when a local-looking old man came by. He pulled it a couple times, and voila! I was saved! Lesson learned: respect the elders.

16:55 Hostel. The reception was to re-open at 6, so I waited at the lobby and talked to other tourists.

17:40 Reception opened early. I got the key for the baggage room and took my backpack.

17:45 Left for the train station with Andrew and a Scottish girl who talked with us while we waited at the lobby.

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18:05 Train station.

18:10 Purchased a ticket to Brussels. EUR 14.10.

18:15 Pano’s, a cafe. I bought a rice tart, which seemed like a tart filled with rice pudding. It was okay. EUR 1.65.

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18:34 On the train.

19:10 Ticket check.

19:33 Bruxelles-Midi station.  Um… it was filthy.

19:40 Came out to the tram stop just outside the station and bought a ticket. I couldn’t find the tram number I had to take at the sign, so I asked an old man nearby, who unfortunately did not speak any English. He almost angrily pointed at the ground as if he meant underground. I walked back into the train station and found the map of the station, and it was indeed underground. The whole station was so confusing that I had to ask someone at the ticket gate whether I was walking into the correct one. EUR 2.10.

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19:55 Platform.

20:10 On tram 51. Apparently the direction is “Europe”.

20:15 Off.

20:20 Meininger hostel. The building was very big.

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Checked in and went to the room. EUR 64.68.

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20:40 Room. It was very similar to the one in Amsterdam, since they were owned by the same company.

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21:35 Unpacked and showered.

22:00 Diary. There was WiFi in the room!

22:30 Bed.

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