Monday, April 18, 2016

South of Netherlands and beyond, part vier!

It's getting harder to recall some of the things, so I have to keep on writing. It just happens to be a slower work day today than usual.

Delft was a one night stop over for us. The town itself could be perfectly described by words "quaint" and "little". There are a couple of churches, like most of ones we've visited they are devoid of decorations and sport high beam beautiful ceilings. There is a big central square with restaurants and souvenir shops around it. It fun to peruse those for a little bit, but most of them try to sell the famous blue Delft glaze in one form or the other. The square gets some traffic, so ignoring "tourist trap" vibe of most restaurants, you get a good "people watching" experience. The locals seem to eat and drink there as well. so it's not a bad sign. Being a "student town", as we were told by our wonderful B&B owner, the town is mostly quiet and dead in the mornings. After spending an evening and having leisurely stroll around the square and near about, we've decided to head for Bruges. Given that it was one of our main destinations for the trip, we've headed out from Delft around noon, hoping to spend a little more time in Belgium. Overall we've spend an evening and couple of hours in the morning in Delft, and I personally think it was enough to enjoy all it had to offer.

Drive to Bruges is a little longer, so while driving we were looking for spots to make a quick stopover and either see something, or at least have meal. One of the things we failed to realized is that there is no such thing a quick stopover in Europe. First of all, a lot of places offer something interesting to see. Second of all, driving through fast in Europe is near impossible, unless you keep yourself on the highway.

Take for example the city of Antwerp - the stopover that we've decided on. The streets in the center are narrow and one-way. We have actually ended up going the wrong way once and ending up on the street forbidding motorized traffic. With assistance of a nice fellow we managed to back down the street about half a mile, and turn into the right one, without causing a major problem for ourselves or pedestrians around us. Antwerp center is very nice, we've planted ourselves in the first cafe on the main square and ate our first Belgian Waffles, which were quite excellent by the way. Spending around an hour just sipping coffee, eating a waffle and watching (later strolling about) a flea market unfold right in the main square was one of the pure European experiences we try to do. Still, it added about two and a half, rather pleasant overall, hours to the trip. I'll reiterate: no such thing as a quick stop, and we kind of went with the flow with the idea.

Onto the Bruges in the next part. I think Bruges deserves a post of it's own.

1 comment:

Lena Burlak said...

Ok, I need to add few words about Delft- I feel you are not being fair to this little town. It is very picturesque and overall reminded me of a younger sibling to the Amsterdam. Same beauty, similar canals, architecture and historical depth. You can even take a similar boat tour on canals in Delft. At the same time, the town is much cleaner, fresher, not full of oh so familiar aroma of coffee shops or girls in the windows.
We stayed at the wonderful very modern B&B - "Swaenenryck" in a historical building steps from the central square. Looking at the owners, we started talking about our own dream for retirement. She used to be a dietitian and he is an architect. The building divided into "His" and "Hers". "Her" portion is a B&B where she greets guests from all over the world and serves breakfast in the cozy dining room. "His" is an small office space with designer boards, architecture prints and small display of archaeological discoveries they encountered upon while remodeling the house. They even preserved the part of the wall that used to belong to the monastery.