Thursday, March 5, 2009

I'm a Tourist: Bruges pt. 2

"If I had grown up on a farm... and was retarded, Bruges might impress me," -Collin Farrel in In Bruges.  While in Bruges one walks and looks at pretty things.  I mentioned yesterday Bruges kinda skipped the Industrial Revolution, and maintained its medieval appeal.  I'm pretty sure the short of it is that Antwerp (over Bruges) became the economic capital in Belgium in the 15th century.  Thus, no one built factories or any industry at all in Bruges.  In fact, until 2002 the goal of the planning department was to maintin the "historic aesthetic."  A portion of the people living in Bruges put up signs declaring they wanted more contemporary work.  I'm pretty sure I found every piece.  All four of them.  I found them because I really just wandered aimlessly for about five hours.  I also mentioned that I went to the Chocolate Museum and the Frites Museum.  
The two museums were not worth the entrance fee.  They were relatively small and didn't spend much space on the Belgian aspect of the products but on the overall history.  I would have been much better off just roaming around a bit more and finding chocolate.  Because I wasted a good ten Euro on those two museums I skipped out on one of the obligatory tourism events:  Climbing to the top of the tower at the central market.  It would cost me five Euro to walk up stairs and look at the city from above... but the cost and the incredible line made me avoid it all together.  Basically, I picked a direction and walked till I hit a canal.  Then I spun in circles a bit and picked another new direction and walked till I hit a canal.  I followed a few canals until I hit a waffle.  Then I picked a direction and walked till I hit the hot chocolate place.  I imagine you can see the trip in your head from where you sit.  Eventually I started picking tall buildings and aiming for them.  All in all I think I roamed down a bunch of the secondary streets, which were still just as pretty as the main ones.  
During all this I went through a range of emotions.  The beginning of my trip was, "yay, I can take pictures of all these pretty places."  By the end I so saturated with pretty that I craved angry looking things.  Every moment of contrast became wonderful.  I had a great time looking for those products of contemporary life stuck within a time warp.  The bridge and covered space aren't not really within the main city, they were nice but independent of the city.  I really enjoyed the Toyo Ito pavilion with the honeycomb structure.  I also liked the private moments where Belgians actually made sure to put up something new.  
I realized I didn't have too much to say about my roamings so I tried to keep it short.  I'm going to Antwerp with a few people from the office this weekend so I may have some social action shots for next week.  Also, I didn't get to take advantage of Belgium's early movie schedule.  We got Watchmen two days early, but I just couldn't make it out early enough to catch the movie.  Oh well, Let me know how it is... I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to go.

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