In Bruges.

 

We woke up in the Valenciennes Grand and made our way across the promenade to the train station where Dan and I each purchased a genuine French baguette. Mine was plain cheese and Dan, once again went with some sort of salami. We checked the big board, and saw that a train, entitled “Lille” was due to arrive at track 6 at 946. We were up early because we needed to get to Lille, where our plan was to make the rest of our reservations for the remainder of the tour and then casually scoot over to Bruges with plenty of time for sightseeing.

The train pulled up right on time and we got on. It was a 25 minute train ride to Lille, which further drove me up the wall when I considered our long drive through traffic in a tiny car yesterday. These trains were empty and comfortable. We rode along for about fifteen minutes before Dan checked the GPS on his phone and said, “ah fuck, dude. We’re going the wrong way.”

on the wrong train, going the wrong way

I went and asked the conductor and sure enough, we were headed the wrong way. Apparently, the sign was telling us that the train that came FROM Lille was gonna be arriving at 946 on track 6, a detail we’d probably have been able to suss out if we’d been able to read French (even though that’s a completely nonsense way of tagging that train, but I digress). We decided to get off at the next stop and wait for the first train back, as it was just a small commuter train. Well, the conductor informed us that the next train due back the other way was, in fact the one we were on, and truly we may as well just stay on as it went to the end of the line and then doubled back. SO, we did that. Our 20 minute train ride from Valenciennes to Lille became a 2 hour and forty five minute exercise in cursing our misfortune and our gods and vowing (inaccurately) that this was the last of the major train boners of the tour.

When we finally got to Lille, I had to take a dump so I went to the pay toilet in the station and this is how it operated: It was a single, unisex room with stalls on both sides. You walk in, put a coin on the plate and a woman escorts you to your stall. She then goes back to sitting there right in the very room you’re shitting in. It’s not as awesome as it sounds. Despite my rough and tumble demeanor, I actually try to go out of my way to never shit when there’s a lady in the same room, so this whole thing was pretty gnarly. Ad to that the fact that there were potentially other ladies shitting in adjacent stalls and…well, the mind reels. I went upstairs to the café where Dan was sitting with our guitars and bags and 2 coffees and told him about it. He, bummed, but in a bit of a bind, went down to see the situation for himself.

When he returned, he exclaimed “man, I like that. Everything’s clean. Not bad.” Which I thought was remarkably forward thinking of him. We found the train to Bruges, by looking at boards, freaking out and eventually asking the conductor “does this train, this train right here, the one that I’m touching, does it go to Bruges?” He assured us that it did, but we were so gunshy after our most recent French train disaster that we didn’t necessarily believe him. Dan said he was hungry. I was hungry too. There was 7 minutes until the train left. I asked the conductor “do the trains ever leave early?” and he said “no. Hahahaha. No. Sometimes they leave late, but never early” (this quote will be revisited later in our European saga, so keep it in the back of your head).  With that in mind, Dan ran off to get food for both of us while I stood guard of all the bags and guitars.

chocodongs

Now, our Eurorail passes, in stark contrast to our Britrail passes, were first class, so we found our cabin and our seats on the train and they were remarkably nice. Imagine two couches facing each other with a booth-style table in between. Once the train was moving, Dan revealed our lunch. He pulled out an awesome multi-grain caprese pesto sandwich, which we split. Then, he pulled out two Kronenbourgs. I was so happy at the sight of the beers I could have wept. THEN, Dan pulled out TWO MORE KRONENBOURGS!!! We were sitting there with a meal fit for a king and two fucking rounds of drinks?!?! Bring on Bruges.

our bounty

We rode the nice train, drank our nice beers, ate our wonderful sandwich and bullshitted with the other two dudes in our car who were from Mexico City. Despite 2 minor panics, one time when the train doubled back on the track it had pulled in on, and another time when the Mexican dudes told us (erroneously) that we had to change trains, the ride was a great success.

We arrived in Bruges and waited in the parking lot for the promoter to pick us up next to a greaser who was leaning against a little shitty Ford Hatchback covered in racing stripes, and wearing a jacket with a Ford patch on it. Cool. Stey, the promoter showed up and he looked a bit like a lost Caterer brother from the Smoking Popes. He was nice and he took us to the club where we dropped off our bags and guitars, had a quick piss, picked up Minx, the club owner who was also opening the show, and headed out to see what Bruges had to offer.

These dudes were super tour guides. We saw canals, old churches, tiny alleys, one of the oldest taverns in the world (it was closed) and even some chocolate cocks and vaginas. Bruges is truly a beautiful city. We sat at an outdoor café and had the local beer. I also had a ham and cheese croquet and Dan had a gruyere plate. It was delicious and picturesque. Then, we went to the stand that Minx insisted had the city’s best French fries and got some of those. After that, we had to go to H&M because the button and zipper on my only pair of pants had failed me and I was walking around like a sex offender with my dong zone out. I found some pants, went to the really hot dressing room, tried about 3 pairs on, broke into a profuse sweat and vowed to purchase the closest thing to fitting pants that I’d brought in, because ‘fuck this.’ When I came out, dripping with sweat, Minx said “what, did you have a little warm up show in the dressing room?” and we all had a nice chuckle.

Back at the club, the little room we were playing was filling in and people were starting to get loose. Minx played and it was cool. Then I played and it was totally amazing. THEN, Dan played and he broke a string. I bounded to the stage to change his string and give him my guitar (as we were teching for each other as well) but in the darkness, I dove face first into the headstock of his guitar and it went right into my eye. For the rest of the tour I’d have a black eye.

Anyway, the show ended and we went to a bar around the way with Minx and the (super awesome) bartender, Koen (pronounced Coon [which reminds me of the incredibly racist Belgian Santa sidekick, Black Pete {look him up}, that Minx told us about. Shit gets weird in a country with no black people around to raise their eyebrows and go ‘really? That’s what we’re calling this?’ Just sayin.]). I don’t remember too much of that bar, due to either the head injury or the Belgian beer, or perhaps both, but I DO remember that it was a good time. We went back to Koen’s house, and we bonded over the fact both he and I were fascinated with international Pizza Hut ads, particularly the middle eastern cheeseburger pizza one. He proceeded to wastedly slap a bunch of sandwiches together for us (some nutella, some cheese) in what had to be the nicest display of drunken hospitality I’ve ever encountered.

they're all pink on the inside (or so I've heard)

We passed out in his awesome living room, giggling unstoppably every time one of us whispered “can I have a cheesebooorger?” We had to wake up early for the insanely long trip to Hamburg which was to involve three train transfers, but alas, the gods would conspire to make the day vastly more interesting/horrible. Tune in Monday.

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14 Responses to In Bruges.

  1. car painter says:

    Thats a killer purse b.

  2. dustyfloors says:

    Choco dicks and choco vaginas are weird.
    Did they taste delicious, though?

  3. Thomas says:

    I was one of the lucky ones that got to meet you after the show (the guy with the lawrence arms shirt that you’ve taken a picture with).
    I wanted to thank you for a great night! For me as a really big fan the best night ever!

  4. chilidouche says:

    Sorry about this but i’m really wondering, and you explained it in one of your posts that you didn’t keep a diary, how the fuck can you keep such a rigorous file about the snacks and beverages??

    anyways, enjoy reading these posts disregard the fact that you left Finland out of the whole fucking European tour…

  5. christophe says:

    I’m still bummed I had to miss this show. Next time, I’ll hook you up with a show in Mechelen again… Again with beer that needs to be consumed with cutlery.

  6. manboobs says:

    Hi friends. Do you guys know who my dad is? Probably don’t give a shit unlesssss I actually wrote his name. Then you’d all be actin’ a shit like a bunch of twits. Anywho, keep being bitches… sluts.

    • Top Gun...frooom the top! says:

      Holy cow, you’ve managed to me more asinine and even less relevant than seagull sam and kantwhackit combined, in your own quiet way. Quite the feat good sir!

  7. Trip McNeely says:

    you suck! but your peanut butter ok

  8. manboobs says:

    it must be hard to do this?

  9. trip McNeely says:

    Manboobs, I hope you die of shitness again. Brendan, you rule. These stories are so entertaining.

  10. (Alcoves) says:

    “TINY ALLEYS…”

    I believe they’re called alcoves. …Do you use this word, alcoves?

  11. Mike says:

    Is that Matt Skiba, the American Indian, on Dan’s shirt?

  12. Doug says:

    that brick work looks salty, dudes.

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