“Tricolor Bruges spread out, far below: roof-tile orange; masonry gray; canal brown. Horses, automobiles, cyclists, a crocodile of choirboys, witch-hat roofs, washing on lines across side streets.”
“When it ends, the Old One plays it again, for an eternity of eternities.”
As people already know and are doubtless sick of hearing, there are times (like every moment of every day) when life in Europe can only be described as the best parts of a movie. Or a novel.
(See: David Mitchell’s “Letters from Zedelghem,” Cloud Atlas. Strictly in reference to the setting.)
This brings us to a timeless town in Belgium known as Bruges. Bruges was horse-drawn carriages (inhabited by tourists, but still charming); chocolateries bearing abundances of truffles, marzipan fudge, and puffy meringues; warm frites with every meal; and sticky-sweet liège waffles on every corner.
At heart, I will always be a city girl, but even the most fervent urbanites could use a change of scene every once in awhile.
We squinted against the bright sunshine at Restaurant Vivaldi, cutting into fragrant, roast chicken and piles of salad (vegetables!). We listened to the clip-clop of hooves on cobblestone. I could have easily traced this dreamlike state to extended sleep deprivation (a certain hostel of Amsterdam has earned itself a special place in my nightmares, thanks to a rotating crowd of increasingly appalling roommates), but there was a magical something in the air. We chased it down canals on wood-benched boats as we tilted our faces back, soaking up the wind and warmth. We followed it to The Old Chocolate House, where delicate, dark chocolate shells gave way to clouds of airy, banana-fragranced cream. Strolling in and out of narrow alleyways, climbing over bridges and gliding beneath them too, all the while trying not to crack our heads on the old-world masonry.
I thought of Frobisher’s “Cloud Atlas Sextet” in brief interludes of pure, perfect silence.
All quotes taken from Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Read it. It’s great.