This weekend I left Paris behind and went on search of waffles and chocolate in Belgium! Friday afternoon, we rushed out of our classes, scrambling to get to the bus station. Arriving just on time, we settled down for our 3 hour and 45 minute bus ride to Belgium. I watched out the window as kilometer after kilometer we drove through farmland. The green landscape oddly brought me right back to Ithaca, a nostalgia broken up by French highway signs and wind turbines. We arrived at the Brussels station and transferred to a train to take us to Bruges. It was after 10 by the time we finally arrived in the quiet Flanders town. We took a bus to the city center and wandered on foot to find our hostel. While wandering we got our first glimpses of this magical city. The Markt (Flemish isn't too big on vowels, except a's) was beautiful at night with lights shining up at the buildings, illuminating their whimsical, Disneyworld-like facades. After checking into our hostel, we walked around the streets, empty of tourists in the nighttime. We got our first taste of Belgian frites and enjoyed the quiet and serenity of Bruges, so different than Paris.
|Bruges Markt and Belfry|
|Waffle with bananas and warm chocolate sauce|
We departed for Brussels, arriving there in no time. In Brussels, we walked through a market on the square right by our hotel and then walked to the Grand Place, just a couple blocks away. Victor Hugo, who lived in Brussels for a time, called the Grand Place the most beautiful place in the world. The night we visited, it seemed that the Grand Place was glowing against the night sky. We dined at a restaurant off the place that was gilded in the belle époque era style. I tried an authentic Belgian dish called waterzooi, at the recommendation of the waiter. This chicken stew, of sorts, was quite delicious. Later that night, we returned to the Grand Place and sat in the middle, singing songs under the moonlight.
|In front of Hotel de Ville on the Grand Place in Brussels|
|Cathedral in Brussels|