I spent this past weekend in a Disney movie cookie cutter city in north Belgium called Bruges. There were cobble stone streets, castles, twinkling lights, endless cafes, bikes and smiles all around. I traveled with the same people as last week, plus our Swiss friend Eliane! We arrived in Bruges on Friday morning and walked the 20 minute walk from the train station to our hostel, Charlie Rockets, in the rain. “Classic” Belgian weather. Our hostel was great though! The bottom floor was a large bar, very American-ized, with a ton of license plates. Ironically I found South Carolina and New Jersey right next to each other 🙂 Luckily it stopped raining as we enjoyed a cheap pasta lunch and we made our way to an Art museum. I don’t think our European friends were very impressed considering they’ve seen the Louvre, but I was amazed at the ancient history behind the paintings and the detail that was accomplished so long ago. We went to another museum that was more exhibits of old fashioned scenes like for a blacksmith, tailor, chef, and things like that. Getting our education in while we travel! After the museums, we walked around the rest of the city, the sun was out!, caused a scene in the local grocery market, as per usual, and then went back to the hostel to get some beauty rest.
After our naps it was time to rally! We had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant (mmmm pizza) and then went back to our place for some games. Somehow we got started giving everyone a “challenge” for the weekend. The most eventful, by far, was the infamous cinnamon challenge. If you have not seen this before, look it up on Youtube. Stuff is sooooo funny. We felt like freshman up in our hostel room being too noisy and having to keep quiet during “quiet hours”. We then went out for a night of dancing and good times in downtown Bruges. It felt very college of us, nothing was too crazy but the bars were quite fun! Because we started the night so late, it was 5am before we knew it. In Bruges, there is an “after hours” bar that opens at like 4am until 9am. Most of us called it a night, but the boys carried on into the wee hours of the morning. Such a funny experience to hear about, and we are all so thrilled and amazed at the times we’ve been having.
Saturday morning, we wandered around town a bit and got to see a performance from the little festival that was in town. There was this giant crane in the city center with a bunch of guys harnessed around the hanging contraption. Basically, all the guys had drums and a girl was on a swinging trapeze thing high in the air and they were chanting some local song in Dutch (I think). It was funny/cool/unusual/awesome and all that jazz. We finally got our day started and rented bikes to ride to the next town over! Bruges was so cute because everyone rides bikes, it is like a little beach town. So we rode along the canal and onto the bike path that took us a few kilometers away from the city center. Talk about extreme sports and extreme weather. In a matter of 30 minutes we experienced sun, wind, clouds, rain, hail, wind, wind, wind, and a double rainbow!! We were on this bike path that was out of a story book on the countryside with tall trees, the canal, small bridges, farms, and the winding path. Definitely one of those “wow I am actually bike riding in the Belgian countryside with a double rainbow” kind of moments. I’ve been teaching myself to take a minute and soak it in wherever I go because these are those once in a lifetime moments (love being corny)!!!!
After a 15 mile bike ride, we took our sore butts to a traditional Belgian restaurant and had a great meal. With sleepy eyes and happy tummies we went back to our rooms and had a great night sleep. We trekked out on Sunday morning (in the rain again!) which was funny because we had great weather all weekend but the rain brought us in and kicked us out. After showers and naps back in Louvain-la-Neuve, the team got together for a nice family dinner! I willingly did the dishes so that the food would be edible, haha.
I am sitting in a dorm room kitchen with 5 great new friends and I could not be happier where my life is right now. As we book weekend trips, rehash the weekend’s events, and talk about the future, I am so fortunate to have met these people and to have the ability to follow my dreams of traveling all over Europe. I haven’t even been here for a month and my perspective on so many things has already been changed. I am thankful to have saved all of my money since I was 16 (go me), to have the ability to walk myself all over these new cities, to take gorgeous pictures, to make amazing memories, and to laugh until my stomach hurts on a daily basis.
So, in case you were wondering, I am having a great time. Love from Belgium xoxo