Heading North

I wanted to write about Heidelberg, where I was last Saturday, but I haven't put the pictures up yet. I wanted to write about the excitement of how many options I have—travel destinations, classes...life. But it's 2 am in Germany and I have to be on a train before 8 am which means I have to be on the S-Bahn at 7:15 am which means I am going to be very, very tired.

Hopefully this all doesn't mean I'm going to get sick during my week of travel. Köln/Cologne for three nights, Aachen for a day, and then Bruges/Brugge (French/Dutch, and really it should be Dutch because it's in Flanders and they don't like French)...for four nights. I am so awake right now. Tomorrow I am going to be so tired. We're taking regional trains to Köln because they're a lot cheaper, but that means lots of connections and a long layover and an eight-hour trip. BUT!—

I'm going to the burial place of Charlemagne and the oldest major city in Germany and hopefully seeing old Roman stuff and then going to Belgium, a country I have never been to before.

The articles on the NYTimes talk about how Bruges stopped being important during the second half of the 15th century, when the river that connected it to the sea silted up. And since then, it has slept...until the first half of the 20th century, when its great potential for tourism was noticed. (But not until very recently for Americans.) One article said that, like Sleeping Beauty, Bruges awoke unchanged. And that what you notice is not exactly the past, but timelessness.

I guess I'm getting taken in by the Travel section trying to be poetic.

Fall and spring are apparenlty the best times to come, when the tourists aren't there. That article was written in 1986 so who knows if that's still true, but I'm hoping. And I want to follow the advice of another article...wake up early and walk the streets at 4 am, when it's totally empty and could just as easily be the 1400s. The article said that you would think Jan van Eyck was about to turn the corner.

The book I've been reading for the past month and a half (Niccoló Rising by Dorothy Dunnett) takes place primarily in Bruges, at the peak of its mercantile power, under the reign of Duke Philip of Burgundy. I'm halfway through the book, and my mom told me she wished I'd read more of it, so I'd have a better understanding of Bruges. Maybe after eight hours of travel I will have.

I'm setting another post to post sometime next week. I haven't decided when. And maybe I'll post from exciting places. At the very least, I'll be checking my email occasionally.

P.S. I just glanced at the Wikipedia link I put in, and saw the summary of this series. And I think I'm going to need more of them, pronto. He goes to Iceland! I wish flights to Iceland weren't so limited. With the super-low Icelandic Króna, now's the cheapest time to go. New Year's Eve?? In Reykjavik??

I am insatiable. Goodnight!

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