07.10.2015 - 11.02.2016 8 °C
This entry today takes us to the fairy tale city of Bruges. It is where you can see multiple streets of cobblestones and have to frequently step aside to allow horse-carts carrying tourists speed past you. To get there, I can recommend two options. One is to take the train from Brussels Midi and you will arrive in Bruges in about 75 minutes. The other option is to rent a car and drive north. Belgium is a relatively small country but with lots of hidden small town gems. Brussels can be a horrible city to drive in but once you are out of the city, things becomes much much better and you can take the scenic route all the way to Bruges.
Wandering into Bruges is like taking a step back in time, the buildings dates back to the medieval era. The movie "In Bruges" with Colin Farrell has awesome shots of this city and definitely do more justice to the amateurish pictures that I take. Here's a picture of an incoming horse cart.
Walking on road side with the horses rushes past you can be an interesting experience. Just be wary of the occasional water puddle splashing when it is raining.
Horse cart on standby
As far as I remember, I have always love chocolates. Perhaps I have grown with a sweet tooth and because of this, Belgium chocolate has a unique attraction for me. Bruges has a good chocolate museum which has been on my travel list for a while. It is not so much about showcasing the historical artifacts of chocolate making equipment, but rather a story telling approach was given in this museum. Since I am visiting, I gladly took the chance to have a look around before doing my chocolate shopping in various shops of the area. This is the entrance of the museum.
The school children seems to be sharing my excitement to explore the museum.
You will get a free chocolate bar upon entry and you will begin touring by going floor by floor until you reaches the top. In this journey, you will learn about the history of cocoa, where do they come from, their botanical information, how did this seemingly insignificant "bean" ascended and be embraced by the European elite society and then the evolution into the chocolates that we all are so fond of today. You will also see both the ancient and modern tools in the art of chocolate making. For the record, dark chocolate is the best for your health. If you are lucky, you will also be able to observe a live demonstration on how chocolate is made (and get more free samples, yay)
Another joy in my life is music, Bruges houses one of my favorite music shop in the world- Rombaux
This shop is more like a music temple and is almost a century old. Like the rest of Bruges, going into this shop is a step back in time. The interior decor from 1920s is kept intact and just like how old bookstores have an appealing fragrance to them, this place has it as well. You will see shelves and shelves of both obscure and modern musical material, promoting jazz, classical musical music and other contemporary works. If you are a collector, chances are you will find some obscure LPs and scores as well. It is definitely amazing to see how Rombaux has managed to survive after different revolution in the music industry, from gramophone recordings, to LPs, 8 tracks, cassettes, CDs, mini disk until today's digital downloads and music streaming. I guess that's because deep down we still yearn for physical tangible things, and I think because of this niche, they are still going to survive in the future.
Of course, I couldn't resist the urge to get some stuff
I will end this entry with a picture of an ancient pharmacy, date unknown. till next time dear readers.