Posted in Travel

Hopping Across the Channel

…And, I finally got some new stamps on my Passport this weekend! This weekend, my friend Ellie and I hopped over to Belgium to do some exploring in this beautiful country. And, I also feel a lot more confident with the whole public transportation thing, as we got a lot of practice with that in three short days! We left campus around 3:00 on Friday afternoon and caught a bus into town. From town, we took a train to Manchester Airport where we caught our flight to Brussels. We landed at around 10:00 in Brussels, but soon found out we were at the South Airport and so we had to take a shuttle bus into the city! (Hey, you live, you learn-everything worked out)

When we got into Brussels, we were dropped off at the Train Station, which just so happened to be a 40 minute walk from our hostel, so we got another unexpected adventure, but enjoyed the 11 pm walk through the city! Our hostel was again really nice—I had heard so many horror stories of hostels, but we have had a great experience so far!

Before we left, Ellie and I had planned to spend Saturday exploring two towns near Brussels and then spend Sunday exploring the city, so early on Saturday morning, we got up to take a charter bus to the towns of Ghent & Bruges. Our first stop was at the small, Medieval town of Ghent.

Since we were with a tour group, we only had about two hours in this city, but it was really nice. Our tour guide told us of the history of the town and how it used to be one of the most popular cities. Many of the old buildings remain as they are, and it was really funny to see modern day shops & restaurants in these old buildings!

 

Ghent also had some amazing street art & we got to walk down this alleyway that was just covered from head to toe in graffiti. Walking past, I just so happened to spot this gem in the midst of the color that read, “Travel Often.” It was a good find, seeing as that seems to be my life motto at the moment!

After exploring Ghent, we hopped back on the charter bus and headed to Bruges. Several people had told us that this city was a must-see, and I now understand why! It is known as the Venice of Belgium, because there are tons of little canals running all over the city. It also has a lot of history and really unique buildings. There are horses and buggies all over the city and the streets are very narrow, as one would imagine an old fashioned town.

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Also, while we were in Bruges, we tried Belgium Waffles for the first time! They are absolutely amazing! Like, if you think you’ve had a good waffle, think again. You must go to Belgium and try their waffles. Just look at my face—pure happiness right there.

Sorry in advance-this is getting really long, but continue reading if you want to hear about the rest of it! So on Saturday night, Ellie & I were really in the mood for some good food, so we went to this amazing Italian restaurant and we ended up staying until it closed!

 

On Sunday, we got up early again to start our exploration of the city of Brussels! (Although, we’d already been around the city quite a bit by then). We started off by trying to figure out the metro, so we could head over to the famous Atomium exhibit. And, quite proudly, we figured it out with no problem, which turned out to be a huge lifesaver, because we were able to do a lot more than we ever could have by just walking everywhere! So, we started off the day by visiting the Atomium. This was built for the 1958 Brussels World Fair and is compared to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

 

After this stop, we took the metro back into the city in search for the Royal Palace. We then wandered around this part of town until we ended up back towards the city centre.

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Back into the center of town, we strolled past a lot of classic Belgian shops, filled with chocolates and waffles and the like. On our way to finding lunch, we also ran into the famous Mannekin Pis statue and found some of the amazing street art that Brussels is famous for!

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After our stroll, we were really hungry, and so we found this place on the street corner that sells fresh seafood and you just eat it standing up at the cocktail tables on the street. It was hands-down, the best seafood I’ve ever had! We ordered razor clams, grilled shrimp, and a fried fish. Just amazing.


After lunch, we hopped back on the metro in order to find this other park that we wanted to see. By this time of the day, we were really tired from all of the walking we had been doing the past couple of days, so after this, we took the rest of the day easy by sitting in a coffee shop before grabbing our luggage back at the hostel and heading home. After  the day was all said and done, we got back to campus around 3 am, so it was a reallyyyyyy long day/weekend. Well, Well worth it, though! We had a blast!

 

 

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