Mike’s Travel Diaries: Part 3

Day 5: The day when I was pretty hungover, and we walked around Bruges a lot, and I met Alyssa’s friend, and our trip took and unexpected turn
I woke up at about 8:30 and noticed everyone in the hostel was still sleeping so I had to be quiet, which is something that I am absolutely awful at. I slipped on my running gear and headed out the door to run the countryside. I soon realized that we were quite far from the countryside, so I jogged along the canals and some of the windmills that the crazy guy had told me about. I did more walking than running, but I really appreciated the great scenery and the oldness of the city. It reminds me a lot of Prague. When Alyssa woke up (or more accurately, when I woke her up), we walked around town forever trying to find a cheap waffle shop. After the waffle (worth the walk) we hit the streets and enjoyed some serious walking around. We found an H and M but it turned out to be a women’s only branch. Alyssa looked for her stuff while I took to the main street to find a reasonable place to find a jacket. I completely failed in that; every shop was selling t shirts in the 15 euro range, which is to say, too much. Alyssa bought quite a bit at H and M, but who can blame her, that store is cheap. A loud British lady in a wheelchair yelled at me why I didn’t “buy my girlfriend some lingerie”. So, that happened. We made it back to the hostel to meet Alyssa’s cool Dutch friend, Niels. They met in China and apparently dated at some point? Well, he turned out to be a cool guy. We stopped at a cafe to grab lunch and mine did not taste good. It was my first experience with curry, maybe it was just because I had it with pasta. During lunch, I grilled him about why the Dutch love mayonnaise so much (seriously, he had never heard of ranch dressing. I think it would have blown his mind) and what they call jumping rope with two ropes at the same time (apparently “Double Dutch” to them is a sex move). Also, a pigeon got ran over a car and the whole street pretty much shut down while everybody freaked out. We finished eating and took to the city to walk around for the rest of the day. The best part was walking through a convent; it was so peaceful and green. As we passed through the convent, we heard the sounds of a drum circle and decided to investigate. We crossed a canal and found our way through a small school and into its backyard, where a bunch of hippies were having a drum circle. It didn’t take us long to realize that we were very much not welcome. A girl with peace signs painted on her face talked to us for a bit. Niels explained to her probably 3 times that I didn’t speak Dutch, but she continued to try to talk to me in Dutch. So we enjoyed the party for about 5 minutes before deciding we should probably leave. Once out, Niels dropped an info bomb on us. Our plan had been that he’d stay with us at the hostel for 2 days and then he’d drive us up to Amsterdam. But, he had to drive up to France in two days, so he offered to let us stay at his house in the south of Holland for those two nights, then we could take a train to Amsterdam. Sure that we had experienced every facet of Bruges in just over 24 hours, we decided to drive home with him that night. We drove, ridiculously fast, to his house, which was probably the coolest thing ever. Niels family is loaded. As Alyssa told me, she hears his family owns half of Amsterdam. So, we go to enjoy his perfectly decorated house, with the nicest garden I’ve ever seen, and he’d casually refer to his housekeeper and gardener, and I’d pretend it was totally normal. Anyways, we got to his place, enjoyed some beers, and he made us fries in a really weird cooking device that looked a lot like a giant centrifuge. However it cooked it, it tasted great to me. We headed over to the guest room and slept.

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