Sunday 28 September 2014--A conversation with a fellow tourist at breakfast leads me to think about climbing up Belfort, the
iconic medieval belltower on the market square. It's a sunny day, and a chance to look over the town and surrounding countryside is
appealing. (Ouch, no pun intended.) Evidently, Sunday is also Bloody Tourist Day--when I arrive, there is a long queue to enter.
I have a thing about queues, moreso about queues going up long and narrow staircases. Is there a word for that? Macrophobia is the
fear of long waits; ochlophobia, the fear of crowds; and claustrophobia, of course, the fear of confined spaces. None of those hits
the mark. In any case, I'm not going up.
Instead, I decide to go to Damme, a small town about four miles along a canal to the northeast. A boat covers two and a half or so of that, but it's not anywhere in sight when I reach the dock, so I walk along the west side of the canal. Arrive to find a handsome village with its own small market square and a number of attractive restaurants. Wander around a while and take the boat back. Lunch at the Rembrandt, followed by a nap.
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Monday 28 September 2009--Had my apparently annual anti-social day today--not the gloom and despair of last year, but an almost entirely unproductive day nonetheless. Drove Ron to the airport after breakfast, dropping my laundry off on the way. Briefly considered going somewhere as long as I had the car out, but returned to the B&B instead and went back to bed. Went out at 2:00 to pick up the laundry, then hung around the room a while more. Looked at a city map, thinking about what to do, and realized that Stockbridge is not far away. Willie mentioned the Stockbridge Tap, sister bar to the Bow, last night. So here I am.
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Dine in one of the restaurants in Markt, mussels again. It's a lovely evening; I sit on the terrasse in a t-shirt, thinking idly about putting on my fleece. Then set out for another of Bruges' well-known beer pubs, 't Poatersgat, but can't find it. They hide their best pubs really well here. Land instead in Groot Vlaenderen. At first glance, it appears to be a nice whisky bar, but most of the bottles on the shelves are in fact gin. A gin joint. I have a genever, Dutch/Belgian ancestor of gin, and enjoy the ambience, which includes "Car Wash" on the stereo.
Back on the street, I hear jazz floating up from a basement bar called Comptoir des Arts. Descend and listen to half a set from an absolutely smoking sax trio.
Leaving that venue, I see a cellarhole almost directly across the street. It's 't Poatersgat; the only sign is well down the stairs. It's a rustic cellar bar, a young hipster hangout, I guess. Good enough for a bottle or two.
Reluctantly, I head off for bed. It's been a really cool evening of barhopping, after a lovely trip along the canal during the day.