We arrive in Bruges the next day. No idea where we’re staying yet, but after many hours, we’re here. We meet this cool artist at a little cafe as we eat and stare at a guidebook map and wind up staying with him and his girlfriend for a bit. Together, they make these incredible oil paintings. Amazing colors. You just want to fall into the world they created on the canvas. I fall in love with one and have it shipped back home. The guy gives boat tours to make extra cash so we take one and see the city from the canals. Yes, of course we do – that night when it’s tied up, we have sex in his boat.
The next morning over breakfast the girlfriend notices my underwear and tells me Belgium is famous for its lace. I tell her I’m a lingerie freak and is there any place to buy some nearby? MB takes off with the guy and I hang out with the girlfriend at her grandmother’s house watching her juggle these skinny threads into lace for a shee-shee poo-poo designer in Italy.
Lace grandmother makes us lunch then takes us to her friends house a few blocks away. I am in panty heaven! The friend makes lingerie – by hand! The softest silk that I think has ever touched my nether regions with these cute little lace frills on the edges. Panty maker has been doing this stuff by hand for years and has a clientele that comes the world-over for her pretty little things. Tells me she worked in a factory once but couldn’t stand the cheap material and shoddy workmanship that was leaving the place. Decided to go out on her own. The girlfriend tells me that Panty Maker is 82 years old. She works by word-of-mouth and if she has a client that becomes a pain in the ass, she tells them so and ends the relationship right then and there. My kind of woman.
Artist boyfriend and girlfriend take us to see some live music and we disappear between acts to visit a stall. Why keep it only stateside?
Over the next few days we meet their friends, each one is nicer than the next. MB and I have a tough time in the beginning keeping up with the speed of talking – we thought we talked fast being from NYC, nope. Those that speak Flemish talk fast in every language! We see a small theater perform, go to Antwerpen, I visit Lace Grandmother and Panty Maker. Panty Maker gives me a pair of her “reject” panties when I ask girlfriend if there is any chance she would sell me a pair. Her rejects are my gold. I can’t even imagine how much they would go for at home. MB & I walk over what seems like a bridge on every street at night, we eat and drink ourselves senseless and try to have sex in various places other than bed. Success is nice.
One morning, boyfriend and girlfriend invite us to Italy to visit boyfriends father. We haven’t exactly got plans to be anywhere anytime soon so we say “Why not?” As MB and I fall asleep that night, we decide that since Bruges boyfriend and girlfriend have been so nice to us, we’re going to buy their train tickets for them. They aren’t starving artists, but they’ve taken us all over and shown us things we never would have seen on our own, it’s the right thing to do.
They did not feel the same.