Bruges’ square must have been the city’s height of traveller-interest, for a broad clock-tower guarded the entrance of mottled archway, through which creeper-lines of inquirers threatened to outgrow the built naturalism.
Christophe stopped a moment to observe the ancient brickwork that climbed above his head, each sweeping building breeding into the others, before he pressed on towards the centre. Amongst the sedimentary seats stood waiting carriages. Perhaps they were to take travellers on their ways around the city, or perhaps they were simply there for the purpose of getting from one place to another- since the mechanics of cars were not known by all. Just as Christophe was, townsmen flocked to the drivers, shoving wads of notes in their direction for even a short ride.
Christophe crossed the paving into the centre of the square, where three motorcars were in position for those who had learnt to adapt to the beasts. Christophe signalled one like the taxicabs he was used to.
“Can I help you, sir?” asked an idle chauffeur in French.
“Yes: my companion has reserved a car for me.”
“Monsieur Beladore, I presume?”
“Oui. Is this my car?”
“Yes. You can drive yourself?”
“Very good.” The chauffeur said no more, but popped open the door for Christophe. He eyed this exchange warily, but stepped in.
Scenery buzzed past in rivets of green and grey, the world dependant on its habitants and their expansive minds to understand it all. As he took to the rough steering wheel, Christophe whipped his head back and whooped into the whistling air.
He had no idea where he was going, but followed Georges’ efficient instructions. Black hand filled the paper, but Christophe had memorised the road utterances in the two minutes before he had set off. It was mostly straight down one winding road the whole way.
He noticed that each turn led him more progressively into the countryside, where mountains outgrew the buildings and the town sunk into the ground, recessive now. Christophe’s eyes lingered on Bruges no longer.
Finally, he pulled aside into a parking place, a small park of gravel that awaited the travellers in their various vehicles. Although Christophe knew that there was no existence of further instructions, he began to head in the direction of a worked path, his feet dragging slowly, as if his arms were laden down with future cares. What problems were there to be in such a beautiful place? None, Christophe dearly hoped.
From nowhere, Georges emerged onto the hillside path ahead of his companion.
“Good day, Christophe.”
“Greetings, Georges! But where have you brought me?”
“Ah, my surprise for you will become apparent. My little sight of Belgium.”
Christophe watched him with his bright, warm eyes. Slowly, the hills revealed their prizes to him: Christophe’s hiking-created body handled the curves below him as his eyes drunk in the natural beauty surrounding. The country, with its dells and slopes, enticed him, like the pages of a well-built novel. These sights were to be read, to be translated from the miracles of existence to something much closer to home. If Christophe were to stay here, he would have to get used to considering this form as his. Twin peaks sturdy for him, Christophe braced himself for adventure.
“Georges,” he called ahead to the older man. “Is there a reason that you’re bringing me so high?”
“Ah, inquisitive young man, you see that I am not only showing you the hills to walk through. Come; there is a greater way to explore Belgium.”
He turned past a thicket of emerald and continued studiously to march beyond the dirt rut they had previously made their route through. As Christophe was about to shrug in the dark canopy, a plane of sky broke through, revealing a contraption most magnificent in its standing.
“I daresay you’ve never flown, old chap?"