We realised recently that at least some of our travels have been influenced by popular culture. Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books were pretty much the only reason we initially went to Botswana, although once we got there, we found a lot more reasons to stay, explore and return. Likewise with Swaziland; we went because we both enjoyed ‘Wah Wah’, Richard E. Grant’s movie about his childhood. The TV series ‘The Bridge’ took us across that bridge from Sweden to Denmark. Larry McMurtry’s bookshops in Archer City, Tx, Anthony Bourdain’s restaurant Les Halles in New York and now here we are In Bruges/Brugge, thanks to the 2008 movie starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson
Once again we’re staying a few kms out of the city centre, on a property just outside Zedelgem. It was built in the 1930s and the original owners ran it as a hobby farm. The current owners seem to be very keen gardeners, although there’s not much happening in the garden at the moment. When we drove along the road towards the house, we knew we had found the right place because our hosts had a blackboard sign out which read ‘Welcome Judy and Greg’. That was a nice touch, and I wish more hosts would do it – finding some Airbnb places can be a major pain.
It snowed for an hour or so yesterday morning. Big, fat snowflakes that melted as soon as they hit the ground, but it was pretty to watch. We drove to the Brugge central railway carpark in the afternoon, then walked into the old town centre. Not much activity, not many people around, but I’m sure it is a popular place to be when the weather improves. I had worn the wrong glasses and couldn’t see very far in the distance, but it was foggy all day and not really possible to see very far in the distance anyway. We sought refuge in a chip shop on the town square and shared groot frienten and a frikendel large hot chips and a sausage, sitting upstairs to warm up and look out at what was happening in the square.
We walked back to the car through side streets and along the canal and I spotted the first hint that Spring might make an appearance soon – a drift of tiny snowdrop flowers just starting to flower, and some other bulb just poking some leaves up on another grassy bank. But otherwise it’s very, very wintery here still.