On Tuesday I took myself off on a mini solo adventure from The Netherlands to Bruges in Belgium. This adventure included taking a train, a boat and then a bus. The trip was easy to navigate and my Dutch speaking skills helped me through. Although, I have learnt a valuable lesson. If you are an English speaking tourist on the Continent and you are lost or unsure in any way.....just go to the nearest Starbucks and I can guarantee you that the barista or a fellow customer can help you out (in English).
As soon as I landed last week in Amsterdam I visited Starbucks because I was desperate for a large cup of coffee - something the Dutch coffee stores don't really understand. I proudly ordered my cup of coffee with soya milk IN DUTCH only to have a frustrated barista look back at me, unimpressed, and say, "you mean you want a tall drip with soy?". Every Starbucks barista speaks English.....Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, Brussels, Dallas, Seattle, London, Dublin.....just plain old English.
The barista in the Starbucks at the Bruges train station was extremely helpful; he provided me with a city map free of charge and even marked on his favorite places to walk and circled all the attractions that were "must-sees" for the three hours I had for my visit. And I didn't even buy coffee. Because, well, compared to the beautiful espressos available on every street corner on the Continent, the stuff Starbucks brews is crap. I took a million photos so, here is just part one of my adventure! I am sure glad that I took this trip. It was a spectacularly beautiful day and I loved every minute of walking the streets of Bruges.