Well, the next day in Brussels, we again decided to set off for Bruges, and this time we were successful—no drama with the rental flat, and the trains were running on time. So by mid-morning we had arrived in Bruges. Bruges is an interesting little city; it’s the capital of the Belgian province of West-Flanders (and distinctly in the Flemish part of Belgian: put away your French, folks, you won’t be needing it here). It’s also, by deliberate choice, retains a rather substantial medieval feel, between the authentic (Gothic period buildings), semi-authentic (Bruges had a rather substantial Neo-Gothic movement in the 19th century), and modern building codes (intended to keep things looking Gothic), it’s been fairly successful. The result is something halfway between authentic and touristy, but it’s a pleasant destination nonetheless. We did most of the standard Bruges tourist things, including walking along the canals, drinking beer, and climbing the Belfort (Belfry, the central tower in Bruges). After a round of that, we were ready for some lunch. As was, well, the rest of Bruges, including the tourists. But consulting one of several of our tourism guides, a mere block from the central Grote Markt we found Den Amand, a small bistro.
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
One of the more unusual recurring destinations I have with my day job is National Technical Systems (NTS) in Boxborough, MA. It’s an engineering service place that does all sorts of engineering testing: shaker tables (exactly that: they shake something really hard to see if it breaks), temperature testing, etc. But the Boxborough area is surprisingly rural for being relatively close to Boston, and basically I can count the number of places to eat during the relatively short lunch break on one hand (and that’s including the Massachusetts-mandatory mini-Dunkin Donuts at the gas station). But during a recent visit, an equipment change gave me and my coworker Eric a larger-than-expected lunch window, so I was finally able to drive just a bit further for lunch and check out a quirky nearby place: Nancy’s Airfield Cafe.