Haunted in Bruges! Photo Essay

While traveling in Europe for the month of June, I looked forward a night in Bruges, Belgium. Little did I know the gorgeous and ancient Hotel Patritius was haunted. We picked the wrong room.

The road to Bruges

You may have heard of In Bruges, a famous movie about a repentant hitman, Ray, (Colin Farrell) who finds himself in Bruges where he and his partner, Ken, (Brendan Gleeson) wait for instructions. As the movie continues, we find out Ken loves Bruges and chose the spot for a reason, but Ray hates everything about the place. The black comedy includes vignettes of this gorgeous and historic place, so it stayed on my radar.

The Bruges Village before dusk

After checking into a family suite on the second floor above the winding staircase, we went out for a stroll. For some strange reason, while walking on patterned cobbles amongst the decorative brick buildings and breath-taking sights, I couldn’t shake loose the jangly feeling of anxiety.

The stairway from the top in Bruges

I have found that places have a certain energy. In Bruges, it was overwhelming. After a few hours of walking the streets to get our bearings, a bucket of savory mussels, and a pasta dinner, I settled in and relaxed.

That night I slipped between the cool sheets. I floated along with the random images of the day while making plans for tomorrow.

Haunted in Bruges

All of a sudden, a beautiful woman appeared in my thoughts. She wore a gold satin gown and a necklace which reflected the light which shone from a window behind me. Her pale face matched the almost white-blonde hair piled upon her head. She stood in a formally appointed room next to a small table. We locked eyes as she slipped out of sight below me. None of this was terribly strange, but…

SHE WAS UPSIDE DOWN!

I bolted upright in bed while trying to shake this bizarre image. I’d never had a thought where an image was upside down. EVER. My heart pounded as if waking from a nightmare. She hadn’t moved or floated in space. Gravity placed her and the table in the room. How weird was that???

My heart slowed over time. Soon images of all kinds of people dressed in seventeenth-century attire appeared randomly in my mind and I drifted off to sleep.

A view of our haunted room

The next morning, I recounted the dream and figured out why she was upside-down. It wasn’t her, IT WAS ME! Held between two people, my head hung backward. As I was removed from the room, I saw the woman slip from view.

Part of a haunted family room in Bruges

We packed up and checked out downstairs. I asked the Innkeeper about the history of the place. He told us it had been there for centuries.

“By the way, you stayed in our most haunted room. Many guests have seen a beautiful blonde woman walk between the bedrooms.”

“What?” I recounted my story, which wasn’t something I perceived in reality, nor in a dream. Rather, it was an alarming thought that freaked me out.

“It sounds like her,” he said and took our enormous key fob with the dangling skeleton key.

Later, I thought about how agitated I had been when first arriving in Bruges. What if I’m sensitive to the many souls caught between this world and the next? Who knows? I’ve never dreamed of anyone upside-down before or since. And what was up with all those costumed people in my thoughts before I fell asleep? I hadn’t seen anyone dressed in period attire during our entire trip.

Pretty postcard Bruges

Would I go back? Absolutely. Not only was it gorgeous, but the history was something I would love to delve into. Maybe I could discover something about the woman in the gold dress and the person who was physically removed from her chambers…

Check out the painting on the left.

Another hotel in Bruges

Have you ever vibed out while on vacation? Have you been to Bruges?

Related posts:

Invaded and Homeless in Paris: Photo Essay

A Day in London with Charles Dickens: Photo Essay

Scotland’s Culloden House, Loch Ness and Barb Taub’s Arran Island: Photo Essay

Click for more wild adventures! 

Autumn And An Early Arrival!

After a week in Wisconsin, I packed up and headed to the Rocky Mountains to see the autumn colors. What I didn’t expect was an early arrival.

Silverthorne fall color with Lake Dillon

These are drive-by shots, meaning, I jumped out of the car to shoot the picture. Don’t worry. No aspens were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Color peeks out from the trees.

The color was stunning due to the clouds and slant of the sun.

Clouds build over the colorful aspen trees

I made the unfortunate decision to stop for lunch while the clouds continued to build.

Fall color in Silverthorne, Colorado

I thought I’d head back up to hike and take more photos.

Autumn in colorful Colorado

Instead, stormclouds descended on the mountains and an icy wind blew.

And then this happened. Click on the photo to listen to the thunder snowstorm!

It’s still snowing. There’s an inch on the deck. If it lasts all night I might have to go sledding tomorrow! I’ll keep you posted.

September snow on the deck

What’s the weather like in your part of the world? Are the leaves changing or is spring arriving?

Click for more wild adventures!

Related posts:

An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

Bike Hike to Bridal Veil Falls – Photo Essay with Altitude

To Hell You Ride – A Photo Essay that Ends in Whoa!

Invaded and Homeless in Paris: Photo Essay

When I planned the trip to Europe, I wanted to wing it in several countries, but not in Paris. The last thing I wanted was to panic and become homeless during high season. I booked an Airbnb near the Arc de Triomphe two months in advance. Super cute and fairly modern, I thought it would be the perfect location for touring Paris for a week. I would never have guessed it would be invaded.

Arc de Triomphe

Once we arrived in Paris, there was a problem with communication. We sat at a nearby café and tried to get a hold of the host. It took a while to find the apartment and the key. When we finally entered the apartment that evening my husband, Danny, and I were pleasantly surprised. It looked exactly like the photos on the site. We settled in and I set up my computer.

The host had left a couple of water bottles in the fridge so I walked across the room to quench my thirst. That’s when I noticed something. Something crawling on the counter. Ants. Okay, so a couple of random ants isn’t a big deal, so I sat back down at the computer.

When a few more ants found the computer cord and crawled to my laptop, it creeped me out. I walked to the cupboards and opened one. The clean glasses were crawling with them. Euw! We were booked for a week. What would we do? I didn’t want to spend hours cleaning. I called the host, but he was on vacation. What? I always thought there was supposed to be someone available.

This is a screenshot from a video I took for Airbnb and the host. Continue reading

How to Paddleboard and What I Learned

Venice gondolierThe first time I saw paddleboarders, they reminded me of the Venice gondoliers without the striped shirts and skinny, long canoes. Then I learned it builds core, leg, and upper body strength. I’m all about exercising while outdoors. Being landlocked in Colorado, adopting a new water sport intrigued me so I reserved a paddleboard. I wondered if I would spend more time in the water than on the board. I didn’t know I would learn some life lessons too.

Union Reservoir in Longmont only allows power boats to put around and fish, so it’s a paddleboarders’ paradise. I rented a board and grabbed a paddle. I set the lifepreserver on top of the board where it taunted me. I wondered how many times I would spill and if I should put it on. I looked around at the graceful paddleboarders gliding across the lake and tensed, knowing grace was a gift given to other people. I must have been sick that day.

Paddleboarding Paridise Continue reading

Viewing the Eclipse by Looking Down!

While everyone else looked up in the sky, I looked down and made an amazing discovery.

When I learned the total eclipse could be experienced by traveling for under three hours to Wyoming, I mapped it out. Predicted traffic woes changed my view. I decided to stay in my own backyard. Experts explained that even with 94% of the sun blocked out, 6% would be enough to ruin the blackout effect. They were right and yet I discovered something else by looking down.

First I setup my camera since I wanted to record anything weird that happened, like a freak migration of owls or a coyote stampede. When that didn’t happen, I slacklined during the beginning of the eclipse.

FullSizeRender (56)

I couldn’t view anything in those black lenses, so I kept my head up for once.

Note to Self: Wear blackout shades when slacklining from now on.

The scientists were right and the eclipse dimmed the light and cooled the temperature, but it wasn’t super dark.

But this discovery really excited me. I looked down and viewed thousands of eclipses. They danced upon my patio!

eclipse leaf patterns from tree

Click below to watch them dance: Continue reading

Fate Meets London’s Bloggers Bash

Boxes packed and ready to goSometimes fate is created with a hint of timing, a splash of coincidence, and a whole gallon of serendipity.

When our ceiling caved in from our demon washing machine, contractors and workers descended on our home. At first, I thought water damaged three rooms. Then we discovered ALL of the wood floors would have to be refinished. We would have to move out. Danny mentioned going on a vacation, but I couldn’t imagine where. East coast? West coast? The south somewhere?

“Lets go to Europe,” he said.

How could we throw a European vacation together that fast. I was still reeling from my brother’s death.

One week out of the house became two. When we learned we would have to move out for three and a half weeks, starting June 2nd, I had to sit down. That’s a humongous trip to plan and we didn’t have a lot of time.

A hint of timing walked into the room.

While sitting down, I calmed myself by reading a few blogs. I found Sacha Blacks’ post about the Bloggers Bash being held in London. It would be held on June 10th. Whoa!

Danny read the paper next to me.

“There’s a bloggers bash in London on the 10th. Maybe we could start in Scotland and then hit the Bash.”

Danny was all in.

London became our first pin on the map. The plan to travel Europe was born. I paid the $20 for the two of us online and we grew our trip from there, forward and backward. We traveled all around Scotland, stayed for a long weekend in London, hung out in Paris for eight days, then drove to Antwerp, Amsterdam and Bruges.

Then coincidence arrived:

After an adventurous week in Scotland including living in a castle and touring several others, we met a blogger on an island who showed us standing rocks. Then I was contacted by another blogger.

To say I was excited to meet Vanessa-Jane Chapman would be an understatement. Vanessa read my blog post about preparing for the UK, so she contacted me through Facebook. After giving her the deets, we couldn’t believe our good luck! She only makes an appearance once a month in London blocks away from our hotel. We could meet for dinner!

Hanging out with Vanessa-Jane in London

Just like so many other blogger meetups, Vanessa-Jane was just as lovely in person. Bubbly and full of energy, especially for someone who had worked all day and then taken the train into London, we recognized each other immediately!

We shared writing stories while Danny patiently nursed a beer happy to relax after a hectic day of travel. We discovered we knew each other through bloggers like Darla of She’s a Maineiac, Peg from Pegoleg’s Ramblings, Jules from Go Jules Go, and Paul from The Good Greatsby. We recalled the good old days when our first circle of friends posted a few times a week.

We caught up over happy hour and nibbles at one noisy bar then found a quieter spot across the way.

Vanessa is multi-talented, wild riders. She not only writes cookbooks and is working on her memoir, she has performed standup, is a mum to two fine children, and also sings with a band! Unfortunately, she didn’t have a gig that weekend. Dang! Danny and I would have been in the front row as super fans.

Like I say to all of my blogging friends, “Look us up if you ever come to Colorado!”

Saturated by Serendipity at the Bloggers Bash:

The next morning my heart beat wildly in my chest. Nope, it wasn’t a heart attack. It was excitement and maybe just a wee bit of anxiety over the original reason why we came to Europe. The London Bloggers Bash! Continue reading

Scotland’s Culloden House, Loch Ness and Barb Taub’s Arran Island: Photo Essay

We drove from Perth, Scotland to the Culloden House right outside Inverness.

This is where Bonnie Prince Charlie Edward Stuart hatched his plans for the last Jacobite battle against the English. Inside the stately manor, filled with antiques, I could imagine heads of state colluding over tea in the day room while others took their Scottish breakfast across the way.

Culloden House Entrance

The Outlander Connection:

My husband, Danny, brought Outlander to read during our monthlong vacation. We watched two seasons of the show on Starz and can’t wait for the third this fall. The castles, lush and verdant landscapes, and history presented in the show were a big part of why we traveled to Scotland. We learned through meeting Fergus and Sarah Jane, Diana Gabaldon, writer of the popular series, had stayed at Cullodun House two weeks earlier. Dang! Just missed her. I plan to meet her at a writers conference in the fall.Fergus from Culloden House and the LindausIf you ever get a chance to visit, make sure to stroll through Culloden’s walled gardens. Simply breathtaking.

Culloden Gardens

Loch Ness was only minutes away from Inverness by car.

A long finger of a waterway, the waves rippled in greeting. I half expected a dragon-like head to appear on its choppy surface. Continue reading