On the set of In Bruges

November 4, 2011 in EQC

It’s been a mad, mad 24 hours since we took off from Dublin Airport yesterday. Let’s put it like this: the most normal thing we’ve done was to get our photos taken standing at the lectern in the European Parliament chamber.

That occurred during a tour of the Parliament given to us by our old college buddy Brian, who works in the building as an MEP’s research assistant. Brian was also our host for the evening, a role he filled to an impeccable degree: feeding us, showing us the sites and losing to us in cards. He was very thorough in that last one, actually.

The cards filled up most of our evening. They were played in Bar des Halles, a very cool Brussels spot which not only provides free decks of cards but chess boards too. Our marathon game was given a little extra spice by our deciding half-way through that the spare bed in Brian’s apartment was on the line! Mike held his nerve better than I held my Baileys and he prevailed. I did manage to finish in second though and thus claimed the couch ahead of David.

We were lucky to get home to those sleeping spots, mind you, as the journey home from the pub felt more like a deleted scene from the French movie Taxi. About a third of the way home, our driver encountered a colleague at a red light. Some banter through the open window ensued before an impromptu race kicked off with traffic lanes, other cars and even a red light being ignored in favour of his effort to keep up with his mate. Mike, who had been in the ‘launch position’ in the middle of the back seat, felt most alive after this experience was over!

Today has been pedestrian in comparison. We successfully got tram and train to Bruges. The sense of deja vu one has when walking around this lovely city is palpable. For Irish people, this is mostly due to the film In Bruges, of course. Imagine our delight then when we discovered that the Championships are taking place in the world-famous Belfry building – the one with the tower in that film.

The Nations Cup kicks off at 5pm today. We’ve been put on the back foot already as our fourth team member didn’t make it to Belgium. The aim tonight is to finish in the top eight and qualify for the knockout phase. It’s now going to be 25% harder for us but I guess we’ll either know the answers or we won’t.

Come back later, I’ll let you know how we got on.

Update (8.10pm): it’s all over. Wow, that was hard. We got lucky and found a fourth team-mate. Steve Dodding, an English quizzer with an Irish grandmother joined us just before round 1. We came 11th in the top division. You can view the scores here: final scores.

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