So there was this Sunday, and it almost rained. Which is the worst- the sky is grey and you have no idea how it’s gonna make up its mind, and just wait, and do nothing, then order in and idle away your time. The best idling away of time on such days, for me, is sorting stuff- not relevant stuff, like Winnie the Pooh and his pots on a branch, but irrelevant stuff, like how many blue T-shirts I have (and why so many) and how many books by a certain author and so on. Perhaps pictures too, and thus I stumbled over some Bruges material I had not written about, which is frankly a pity, so I decided to make up for that.
The ultimate reason for going to Bruges, is of course, the movie In Bruges, and since it is highly likely that the weather will be miserable when you’re visiting (in Belgium rain does not hesitate, it just pours with relentless majesty), you can go about the city muttering expletives in mock Irish accent while sizing up soggy lace (they’re very into lace), soggy devil mascots (the Belgian national team was on the brink of a great achievement in 2013 and interestingly enough is still on the brink of the same great achievement today), soggy and soon to be dismantled umbrellas (the wind does not joke either in Belgium), well, basically soggy anything.
When you feel that your soul is deeply soggy and will stay so forever and a day, it is time for a nice little pub, where Belgians will sit as if nothing interesting was happening (are they rain repellent by nature, actually, for they never seem to be wet, much less soggy?) and tourists sit as if they regret each and every life choice they made up to the moment that brought them to this wet inferno. The first step in a bit of genever, which is, as the locals informed us the real gin (another thing the English stole from someone who happen not to be the Scots this time around either). This informational input was also done in very articulate English- my attempts at unleashing my French on the merry populace of Belgium was forcefully thwarted by the border separating the Walloons (lazy, sneaky and possibly filthy- so quoth the Flemish) and the Flemish (unimaginative, arrogant and superlatively annoying- so quoth the Walloons).
Second step- beers, or better said, more than often, ales. Although Belgian beer is oft considered to be the nec plus ultra of its kind, I was always slightly suspicious of its frequently unreasonable sweetness and strength. It is then, the kind of beer which brings you within one inch of death on a lovely summer’s day in, well anywhere else than Belgium- so I now understand everything. Their beer is specifically designed for you to be able to get up from your table after a couple of pints and bravely declare that this is the exact moment when you’ll climb the bellfry. Climbing the bellfry actually seemed almost a good idea up to the point when a) the effect of the ales wore of and b) I was quite literally plastered to a wire caging which is obviously put there to stop people from flying off Dorothy style and thus ruining the good name of this most lovely of cities. ( Will not make any references to the plot of In Bruges here, actually, becasue that would be a spoiler. Come to think of it, it most likely already is.)
Last ideal activity for such weather is of course casually strolling along the canals and keeping your fingers crossed that no swan will look at you and think lunch!, or whatever the correct word for that is in Flemish. Irish expletives might also be added here, just for fun, because I am actually quite fond of reveling in pretty architecture. (As long as no swans are involved). You may also consider buying some lace, have one more ale and decide that actually, this was a really fine day, and your soul is soggy, true, but part of it is water and another part, some sort of particularly odd Belgian happiness.