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Visitors and Brugge

Our roommate went back to Belgium this week for the break, and Courtney, Liseannes friend from high school came out to visit. So we threw a house party. It was fantastic. No cops were called, we only received one noise complaint, and we met lots of new people.

At all the international parties we’ve been to, the hosts give out beer throughout the night, so we went to pick up a couple flats. (And got them all the way home on the back of Bianca/in backpacks) It cost us 8 Euros for 48 bottles of beer. So cheap, we also made quite a bit of cash in deposits. We played Olympic drinking games by betting on ski jump placement early in the night. Later we moved on to Sociable’s when a few more people came. I had never thought about how hard that game would be with language barriers before. Playing ‘Rhyme Time’ with anyone whose native language isn’t English is hilarious. Later on it got so packed in our little apartment we could hardly move. Poor Courtney was jet lagged from the time difference, so she snuck off to bed a little bit before everyone left. The double cheek kiss is a time consuming hello/goodbye when you’re hosting a party, but it’s still lovely and almost my favourite part of Europe so far. After a few hours of intense cleaning the next morning we took Courtney to see down town and the ocean.

We walked along the beach, where the back of the boardwalk was lined with beautiful graffiti. I get a little bit home sick sometimes after staring blankly at the constant stream of Dutch messages strewn around the windows and walls of Vlissingen. Even the babble of unfamiliar language sometimes gets a bit lonesome. I might go back to take pictures of my favourite pieces so I can translate them.

I’ve never been more thankful for a sunny afternoon. The air was a bit cold, but the sun was bright and full of some much needed vitamin D. I have realized since I’ve been here how often I take the sunshine in Calgary for granted. It might be a bit dreary here, but the grey skies make you appreciate the sunny afternoons so much more. We walked past a +15 that said ‘For you, grey turns into blue’. It was the first piece of English writing I’ve seen in our town. It was beautifully significant, especially that afternoon.

We had an incredibly tiny coffee on the boulevard. Did I mention all the coffees here are the size of an espresso shot? …I mean ALL the coffees, there are no sizes. I thought maybe it was a European thing, but the rest of the international students seem just as confused as us. This may explain why there isn’t one Starbucks location in the Netherlands (according to their website).

Courtney brought her fancy camera, so you can all look forward to some beautiful pictures of our home town soon.

Liseanne, Courtney and I decided to head to Brugge for a night. The ferry from Vlissingen to Breskins is exactly long enough for me to drink a Dutch sized coffee, and the bus ride from there to Brugge is a little under an hour. It only cost us 8 Euros to get there. We booked into a little hostel for the night and dropped off our stuff before exploring the city. It was drizzling almost the whole time we were there, but Brugge is beautiful! We went to the Salvador Dali art museum, and walked around the city center at least twice the first afternoon. It’s not too big, just the perfect size to wonder around in the rain. They have much more to offer than Vlissingen as far as shopping, so we took advantage a little bit. I bought a wonderful (and cheap!) lace dress.

We finally headed to our hostel a bit after dark as the streets closed down. Brugge on a Tuesday night is apparently not a very lively city. We found that we had another person staying in our 5 bed room, but we didn’t see them when we went back up. The three of us headed to the hostel bar and started playing cards and sampling different local Dutch beers by recommendation of the bar man. We invited a Brazilian guy named Juan to join us, and found out he was our mystery roommate. Soon our innocent game of crazy eights had turned into a competitive game of Bullshit with drinking rules. When our hostel bar closed, we weren’t quite ready to head in for the night, so we asked the bar man where we could find a liquor store. He navigated us a path on our map and we headed off in search of good times. As we meandered through the city, the sheets of rain quickly soaked our map and pretty much everything else. Our map was soon many little squares of unattached parts being fumbled and dropped by four giggling twenty somethings in the city square. We satisfied our drunken munchies with some authentic Belgium fries from a street cart vendor, and asked the man there for directions. (Side note : They had a ridiculous amount of sauces for your fries. We decided on ‘American Sauce’ because we had no idea what it was. It turned out to be a pesto-ie kind of taste.) A couple side streets and a dance off later we found the liquor store/ internet cafe. We made it back to our hostel, played a few more drinking games and went to sleep.

We hit a few street markets the next day and I bought my first plant for my flat! She only cost me a Euro, and we named her Jimmi after our favourite 9% Hendrix beer from the night before. The three of us got quite lost (Had no map) and ended up seeing the outskirts of Brugge as well, which was equally as beautiful as the center.

Love for now,

Ashley

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