In Bruges (A Troll Is For Life And Not Just For Christmas)

February 6, 2013 1:35pm Published by Jules Smith in The Art Philosopher 24 Comments

Hitting the Eurostar was a dream after Hotel California. Straight on a train, no fuss, headphones on, off to sleep and arriving fully refreshed two hours later in Brussels. This is now my preferred way to travel. Effortless.

Anyway, the reason my Mother and I had decided to go to Bruges was for the Christmas market.

“Won’t it be lovely” enthused my Mother “ It will be all Christmassy and pretty” 

“Yes” I replied “Now let’s have a look to see what they say about it on Tripadvisor”

This is a stupid thing to do and yet I always do it.  I never do it beforehand or I wouldn’t visit  anywhere (Like Hotel California)  but for some sick and twisted reason I have to see what other people have got to say.  And it went like this:

“ What a load of shit.  Seen better products at Primark” said one.

“ If you’re going to Bruges for  a Christmas market then my advice would be to stay at home” said another.

My Mother and I looked at each other. “ It doesn’t matter” I said waving my hand as if to dismiss the comments that I had been so eager to read “ Bruges is a fabulous place all on it’s own, the Christmas market is irrelevant” 

And then I read this: 

“ I wasn’t impressed by the market, far too many wooly hats for sale” this made me laugh.
 “ But the worse thing I saw was someone sticking trolls to baubles and having the nerve to sell them.  Hideous”  Now, I have to say, this piqued my interest.  Why would someone choose to stick trolls on ornaments and sell them as Christmas decorations?  

“Brilliant!” I exclaimed “ That’s it.  I’m on a mission to find the Christmas troll hut and buy one for all my friends. That will be hilarious!”

We arrived at Bruges which looked lovely and our hotel was a far cry from yesterdays version and I felt like I’d arrived at Downton Abbey.  Splendour, marble, chandeliers and finery. Posh toiletries, fluffy towels and champagne breakfast.  My Mother had redeemed herself with this superb choice of accommodation and I felt much better. I instantly hit the bathroom and washed away last nights trauma.

“Come on” I said as I emerged from the bathroom smelling of roses and simpering lilies. “Let’s go for a reccy and find the trolls” I urged.

We walked along the cobbled streets of Bruges and passed so many chocolate shops I wondered why I had never moved here.
                        How is one to resist temptation when it has your name written all over it

“Shall we have a Flemish stew?” asked my Mother peering into a beautiful little Bistro place, covered in fairy lights. 

I have never been comfortable with the word Flemish but didn’t let that deter me from sampling the native dish.  As it happens, the stew was scrumptious as were the Belgian chocolates, mulled wine, more Belgian chocolates, bier and so on.  I left truly sated and 10 pounds heavier.

As we walked around the market I have to admit that the folks on Tripadvisor had relevant points.  There were too many hats for sale, it was over priced and there wasn’t anything you hadn’t already seen before except for when I turned the corner and there it stood.  A sparkly wooden hut full to the brim of plastic trolls swinging from multicoloured baubles.

I burst out laughing as soon as I saw it and then felt horribly guilty when the lady in the hut (The troll maker) sang “Hello and welcome” 

“Oh my God they ARE hideous” I said to my Mother “We need to buy loads” 

I asked the lady if I could take a picture of her stall and she happily agreed.  She was so nice I began to feel evil about laughing at her stall.  

“What made you do this?” I asked “I mean, why do you stick trolls to things?” I enquired as innocently as I possibly could.

“Ah” she nodded “ Troll is very, very lucky”  she peered into my eyes and to the very depths of my soul (she did, I felt it) “If you don’t buy one you have no luck” she finished.

Now this is the sort of witchety-voodoo-hullaballoo kind of thing that happens to me.  They must sense that I am now petrified of NOT buying a troll incase something bad happens and no matter how much logic and rationality I apply to this absurd notion, the fear of being cursed or suchlike wins.  

                             Hence, me and my troll spent a very happy Christmas together.


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Haha, you were very wise, Jules! I go out of my way not to offend witches and suck up to them abjectly if they talk about spells. Why take a chance?

What a pity I didn’t introduce you to Daphne Wayne-Bough, who lives in Brussels. She would have loved to meet you and your mum and told you about all the local attractions.

Exactly Mr GB – Not a chance I’m prepared to take. You wont believe the colossal amounts of money I’ve spent on a stick of heather from wandering gypsies.

Yes – that is a shame, I would have liked that! Next time I go away I’ll let you know in advance incase you know anyone in that neck of the woods. Though I’m seriously contemplating the Congo…

LOL, did you only buy one troll? Gosh I hate it when people bring their voodoo-hullabaloo to the table. It’s like “how can I NOT buy one now?!?”

Anyways, I often wonder why I don’t live in Belgium too. I could single-handedly contribute to the economy with my penchant for chocolate.

No….I bought 3. I KNOW, I know but I felt it necessary. Just incase!

You and me both Azra. Chocolate paradise.

Great… no one ever thinks about me. Grumpy men need chocolate, too.

Awww – of course they do. But only after Azra and I have taken the lions share 😉

OK, I Googled Flemish Stew and it’s not what I thought it would be.
The spelling’s different for a start.

And just what is it with women and chocolate? Not that I’m complaining: a bar of Fruit & Nut and the current Mrs Masher is putty in my hands.

I like putty.

I do NOT want to know Masher, it sounds ominous! I just ate it and it was nice. If I know what’s in it I might freak out.

But its BELGIAN chocolate. MMMMMMM…divine.

Ha ha – I bet you do!

Hey Juliette – great blog. I love Bruges but it’s been a while – here’s the A-Z blogging challenge details –

Hello Dave and thank you – Yes, Bruges is lovely, I think it’s definitely a place I could live. I shall go and see if I am able to meet such a challenge!

I LOVE THIS POST. First belgium chocolate – yum! Secondly that ornament is fantastic!

I know Deirdre, how can ANYONE resist Belgian chocolate. He’s fabulously hideous isn’t he. And hopefully lucky.

… smelling of roses and simpering lilies.
I like that!
Life would be so easy if we could purchase luck like that 😉
Never been to Bruges but i do like Primark!

I liked it too, I felt like a princess!
Wouldn’t it just, well… never know, maybe he really IS lucky.

That is one beautiful building. I don’t know if it is your hotel or the store, but I love it. The troll story is so fun. I love the way she displayed them.

That’s the Town Hall, Belle. There are some gorgeous buildings, it really is a beautiful place.
Yes, she is certainly into her little gremlins!

I read somewhere that if you give your troll a passionate kiss, it will miraculously transform into a handsome hunk of love…

Is that so? I should have bought one for every day of the week!

It happened to me. I kissed a troll and got stuck with a guy. Luckily I still had the receipt so I rushed back to the store, had it fixed and now I’m stuck with a Bollywood princess.

See how lucky you are!

This makes me look forward to Christmas again already!!

Yes, me too. When everything is magical!

That first photo is simply romantic.

And trolls? You gotta love the originality. And your troll ornament will always have a vivid memory attached to it.

It is very pretty isn’t it. Definitely original, that’s a fact and you’re right, I will always remember!

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