DAY 11: First Day in Bruges
“After I killed them, I dropped the gun in the thames, washed the residue off my hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and walked home to await instructions. Shortly thereafter the instructions came through— ‘Get the fuck out of London, you dumb fucking cunts. Get to Bruges.’ I didn’t even know where Bruges fucking was. It’s in Belgium.”
— Ray, opening voiceover from the film, In Bruges.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit “In Bruges” was a factor in deciding my next location. I love that film. I was going to stay in Brussels for no particular reason but my first host in Amsterdam insisted I stay elsewhere. I mentioned Bruges to her and she felt that was a much better choice. I followed her advice.
I packed my shit and headed to Rotterdam Centraal. Two and a half hour train ride with only one transfer. Easy. The entire length of “In Bruges”, Colin Ferrell’s character constantly complains about what a shithole Bruges is when in fact its a beautiful city with museums and cobblestone buildings. It’s a constant running gag throughout the film that he’ll bring up at random occurrences. If you haven’t seen the film, stop reading this blog and watch it. It’s hysterical but not entirely inaccurate.
During the course of the train ride, the architecture, the atmosphere, it all shifted. Less residential homes. More emptiness between stations. Brick and stone. Dirtier. More graffiti. The rain and overcast didn’t help but everything became gray, and old and drab. There was an energy lacking here versus my experience in the Netherlands.
Bruges Station was small. Felt dirty. Figured out the bus routes and hopped on. Of course I missed my stop. Thankfully the bus driver was kind and patient. Since I was at his last stop I was required to leave the bus so he could break for five minutes. I waited for him but, like an idiot, I neglected to cross the street to his first stop in the opposite direction. I was all over the place. Not thinking.
Found the place I booked but I’d just missed the host, which presented a mission all it’s own. Someone else staying at the location luckily had arrived thirty minutes prior and guided me to the room keys. I didn’t know which one was mine so I stuck the key in every door in the house three times… Except the one door I’d kept missing. Naturally. I was killing it today. Stayed in for the night. There’s a jacuzzi in my room...