Help! We need a viable rationing system; and we need it NOW.
It was interesting that our landlord in Brugge has a clear view on the impact of global warming on Australia. Interesting because Brugge of all places knows about the impact of environmental changes. There was a time when Brugge was the economic capital of Europe. The first stock exchange probably opened here. Burgers of Brugge were rich beyond their times’ imagining. But then the tidal estuary which provided their access to the sea silted up and they faded to become a backwater.
A beautiful charming backwater. A backwater filled with tourists coming to see the wonderfully preserved medieval town. Filled with lovely canals, cute bridges and tall houses with checker-board roof ridges looking like they have been built of Lego blocks. Filled with the lace and chocolates that Belgium is now famous for.
For us the sun came out today as we travelled from Amsterdam to Brugge. The temperature crept upward and the skies cleared to blue. We arrived with the temperature achieving the balmy heights of 8 degrees; not much by Australian standards, but its amazing what a sun in the sky can do for your outlook.
Our apartment sits just outside the tourist ‘golden circle’ The building it is in was built in the 1500s although the apartment has been upgraded since then. It is possible that this apartment may be the exception that proves the flat screen TV law. Much as I loved our Amsterdam houseboat the low ceilings were hell on my head, so being able to stand upright is an immediate plus for me.
Our landlord’s father has had several chats with us already. He’s a lovely old man with a great, imposing moustache and a wonderful enthusiasm. When he found we were from Australia, he told us the story of his sister – he’s one of eleven children. During the war his family had a farm in the Belgium countryside – 300 cows for milking. A plane was shot down and the pilot parachuted to the ground. His sister ran out an grabbed the shaken Australian airman. She hid him in their cellar, successfully concealing him from a Gestapo search. Two weeks later she handed him over to the resistance who got him to London. Then, in 1952 there was a knock on her door and there stood the Australian pilot with his wife and two young children. Tomorrow, the father hose name we have not yet discovered is going to show us the stone block he found in the basement with the year the house was built chipped into it.
Anyway, after settling and doing the grocery shopping in the local supermarket we went for a bit of wander and a run around. First impressions live right up to my memories of this place – it’s lovely. The main square has probed to be a great place for a game of tip.
And a quick look round has confirmed what will become our main problem with Brugge – every second shop sells chocolate, the ones in between sell waffles and the ones on the corner sell french fries with mayonnaise. We’re now working hard on developing a rationing system – we’re here for ten days and we’re not going to survive without help.