One thing may strike you should you visit this quirky country is firstly, the people are very personable and friendly. They also speak English with such skill and ease that you will end up mildly loathing them for having a better command of the language than you. Another less known trait of these sweet toothed people is their inability to step out of the way if another person is walking in their path. They embrace the shoulder bash with relish and ease. If the game of chicken could become a profitable sport this nation would win everytime. This facet is applicable to all age groups as for the first time in my life I was moved to rage by an old lady whacking me out of the way.
We went to Brugge because that is what everyone said you are supposed to do. Yes it’s beautiful in a staged Hollywood type of way, I mean people left their bikes unlocked outside their houses for crying out loud - that’s just weird. On return to Brussels we smiled at the graffiti and at the little splashes of liter.
“Oh yes, this is more us. Brugge is the perfect partner with the twin set but a serious mental illness is lurking to explode, Brussels is the one night stand that was great but has you feeling very dirty after.”
Later that night after a drink in the oldest gay bar in the city that can only be likened to The Queen Vic in BBC’s Eastenders except it was full of bears and disco beats. I felt very hairless and for the first time ever wished for my upper lip to sprout weeds but no such joy. After all that hair we wandered on to the next bar except we never got there.
BAM! I was thrown to the ground by a man that had hassled us earlier as we read our map. I shall now digress momentarily. Those bloody maps that they give every tourist in every city just scream, “attack me now!” Anyhow, this man wrestled me to the ground. For a moment I wondered whether he was just doing the usual Belgian thing of bumping into me but alas. His friend looked on in panic and mumbled,
“No no no no,” before he ran down an alley.
My friend punched him in the face. Several months ago this same friend and I were knocked over by a naked man running through the streets of Dublin. She was knocked unconscious and I had a bruise the shape of France on my arse for several days. Maybe I should revise hanging out with said friend.
I have been attacked before, thankfully a security light startled him allowing me to run, I learned from the last time to shout like a woman unhinged. Unlucky for him I used to be a soccer coach so I am exceptionally good at shouting really loud. When he started foaming at the mouth with rage and adrenaline four men ran to the rescue. As luck would have it one was a police officer. As better luck would have they just opened a chocolate shop and invited us the next day for free chocolate. They also added after the attacker had been bungled into the cop car,
“You have a very good shout. Amazing really we were inside our shop doing renovations but we heard that shout - amazing.”
“Thank you,” I smiled smugly.
They caught the fool and we got to drive at speed over the cobble stoned streets in the undercover police car, one of the undercover officers also was a brother of the group so the attacker really picked the wrong women to attack. Several hours later after the statements had be made they drove us back to our hotel.
As with everything in life you could think the worse, what if he had a knife etc. Yes I’m bruised especially on my arse but I have decided to use it as a lesson to really embrace life and achieve the things that I have been procrastinating on for far to long. So here is to living and the kindness of the police and those good Samaritans.