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Posts Tagged ‘Bruges’

Bruges

And here I was thinking all Muppets were on crack.

Doggie! Waiting outside the supermarket which, along with every other of its kind, was closed on Sundays. This made for some very strange eats, including a packet of instant sugary oatmeal... dry. Mmm, fibrelicious.

View looking out from the entrance to the Gruuthuse Museum. What is it with male builders and towers?

Anyone agree with me that the way this sword crosses over to touch the right man's foot, combined with the nearness of the men's hands on the handle, means that THEY WERE LOVERS?

At least they're honest.

For my vegan and vegetarian readers. Well, it's not like it's being divided into beef cuts, right?

Really for my vegan and vegetarian readers this time. Also known as “I eat 200g of what seems to be pure salt”.

Bruges

Beautiful Bruges.

Bruges

Foreboding Bruges. The Bruges where people are still allowed to smoke inside. (That was a surprise.)

Oh holy bucket, stop the presses. I just realised that the animal in the fourth last picture HAS HORNS AND AN UDDER. I think Belgian bovines are hermaphrodites.

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I still have my time in Bruges, Antwerp, and Amsterdam to blog about, but I absolutely cannot write anything without first saying that I am in love with Paris. Thank you, Paris, for being everything I wanted you to be and more. Thank you for beautiful sunny days and for warmth on the back of my neck, thank you for delicious food (which I promise to post about), thank you for your buildings and music and history and friends and gorgeous dogs and for giving me the feeling of delirious happiness and contentment that I haven’t felt since I was in the U.S. Paris, will you be my European paramour?

In Bruges

I was going to write a really witty post about how I spent my time In Bruges chasing down criminals and getting married to Colin Farrell and sewing together pants made entirely of waffles, but then I remembered that I haven’t actually watched the movie and therefore have no idea whether Colin Farrell would be attracted to a young lady with pastry adorning her lower half.

I spent three days in Bruges which, to be entirely honest, was probably a little too long. Most people in my hostel stayed only one night, and even then complained about not having anything to do. I managed to pass the time rather enjoyably, but I bought a Bruges museum pass and explored even the small and out-of-the-way museums, chanced upon some free musical events, attended Mass at the Heilige Bloed Basiliek* (Basilica of the Holy Blood) and, most importantly…

… had my first really real deliciously delicious amazing creation from a European patisserie.

Servaas Van Mullem

Not the greatest photo, but the better ones didn't have my selection in them. So, dearies, which one did I partake in?

Now, as you know, I did enjoy two cakes in Berlin, when my sense of taste was just returning. Those cakes were, however, rather workman-like, from rather workman-like cafes, and I knew that when buying them.

This, on the other hand, came from Servaas Van Mullem, a salon/patisserie just up the road from this (and therefore quite atmospheric, don’t’cha know):

Bruges

We haven't got these in Canberra, that's for sure.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’m already ridiculously behind in my posts, I’d stretch this out into a game where I’d make you guess what I chose. I think some of you might be able to pick it correctly (I’m looking at you, Camille).

So, what did I pick? Um, a winner.

Napoli, Servaas Van Mullem

Oooh, this is also St Patrick's Day-appropriate!

The woman at the counter described this as “pistachio cream, chocolate cream, almond biscuit”. Oh lady. Oh lady, no. This was so much more than that. I mean, yes, when I first tentatively pressed my spoon against the green mousse, atop which a clear layer of jelly cradled chopped pistachios, and carried it to my lips, I tasted subtle, nutty pistachio in not-too-sweet cream.

I took a bit with the almond sponge, and my head kapowed. This almond “biscuit” was a thin layer of cake that tasted so overwhelmingly of caramelised almonds and butter that I almost couldn’t bear it. It was heavenly, and I don’t know how they made such a soft cake taste of such crispy deliciousness. Maybe almond extract was somewhere in there?

Then there was just the chocolate mousse, right? WRONG. Look at this:

Okay, so maybe that's not an enticing photo to everyone... but it is to me.

Yep. You’re looking at incredibly light and fluffy subtle pistachio mousse, then a layer of denser chopped pistachio mix, then a nicely cocoa-rich chocolate mousse, then more pistachio mousse, all of which was surrounded in its coat of almond-toffee-cake.

And that was it, surely? I mean, that’s enough deliciousness for one cake, right?

Nope.

The sun kept scampering in and out, thus the changing vibrancy of the cake's colours.

When I hit the bottom of this Napoli, the notes I was taking on my receipt became illegible. That dark bit at the base? Crunchy dense chocolate hazelnut praline richness. Oh. My.

The incredible complexity of this confection, the way the flavours held their integrity but also blended together seamlessly, the contrasting textures and sweetnesses… chancing upon this treat felt like a continuation of the wonderful feeling of the night before, when the seven people in my hostel room had all stayed up chatting after we’d turned the lights out (it felt like a high school camp), and one of my comments had surprised everyone into a seemingly-endless fit of giggling.

That had felt lovely. And so did treating myself to this cake.  

Aaaaand we're done for today!

* Where I lost a glove, which I’m fairly certain was God punishing me for going to church when I’m not religious and therefore incapable of believing that it was real holy blood up there.

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We seemed to have a little success with my last art/art commentary post, so I thought a repeat might work. But first, an update to last night’s update…

Dutiful as always, I got up bright and early this morning to take myself back to the hospital where I had been instructed, yesterday, to come every day starting today, for nurses to take care of my toe. So imagine my surprise when, upon arrival, I discovered that the clinic I was to go to was, well, you know, closed on Sundays.

Yep. This is the France I’ve heard about on David Lebovitz’ blog. Ah well, tomorrow then. The funny thing is that I can read the French on the medical papers given me by the nurse, and I also got a pharmacist to talk me through it, and it says “without urgency”.

In addition, all the papers instruct the nurse to do is apply Betadine, which I can easily do myself. In fact, the pharmacist didn’t think I needed to go to hospital at all, and neither did the Australian and Canadian girls who took me under their wing last night. Those two amazing women honest-to-goodness giftwrapped a packet of hope and happiness and calm for me, and on top of that got my mind off things by taking me out for a drink. (Yes, Australian friends. I actually imbibed alcomahol.)

Anyway, I’m still unsure as to what to do about my travels, as the foot is still swelling at inopportune moments and providing discomfort. I’m considering booking extra time in Paris and taking it easy here. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Now…

To the Art with Us!

Chandalier, Throne Room, Neuschwanstein Castle.

View from underneath the chandelier in the Throne Room of Neuschwanstein Castle in Munich. Yes, you aren't allowed to take photos. Yes, I took a photo. I blame my naughtiness on the Americans in my tour group, who took multiple photos in every room. I shall now go sit in the corner and think about what I did.

Garden of Exile, Judisches Museum, Berlin

Looking up in The Garden of Exile at the Jüdisches Museum in Berlin. I also really recommend this museum, for while it covered the horrific events of the Holocaust in a gets-into-your-bones way (entering the Holocaust Tower was physically and psychologically chilling), it also celebrated Jewish culture and conveyed so much about the Jewish faith, music, history, and art.

Adam and Eve with their First-Born, 1896, Lesser Ury

Yes, it's the mother-child bond again. No, I don't have a bun in the oven. Probably I'm just missing my own family a little bit. (This is a section of "Adam and Eve with their First-Born" by Lesser Ury, 1896, at the Jüdisches Museum, Berlin.)

British Empire Panel by Frank Brangwyn, Arentshuis, Bruges

Now that's a shifty-looking fellow if ever I saw one. ("British Empire Panel 1925-1930" by Frank Brangwyn, at Bruges' Arentshuis Museum.)

And now, a series I like to call “Hannah tells you the inner thoughts of four ye olden day women”:

“I ought to be prancing through tulips right now, not wasting my time sitting here with you. I’m considering stabbing you with my tapestry needle.” (Portrait of Miss Kinsoen, by Franciscus Josephus Kinsoen, at Bruges' Groeninge Museum.)

“I shall stare at you with my dead fish eyes until you fear me. Fear me! Also, my pug is not the ugly-cute kind of pug that Hannah likes. It is just ugly.” (Portrait of Sylvie de la Rue, by Joseph Octave van der Donckt, at Bruges’ Groeninge Museum.)

“I have arsenic hidden under my collar. However, I have also invented the first headwear that doubles as a pillow, so the jury may let me off.” (Portrait of Jeanne Bauwens-van Peteghem, by Franciscus Josephus Kinsoen, at Bruges’ Groeinge Museum.)

“I like opium.” (Portrait of Marie Josephine Lafont-Porcher, by Franciscus Josephus Kinsoen, at Bruges’ Groeinge Museum.)

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