Happy new year everyone! Have you given up on your resolutions yet? I’m clinging to the last bits of mine and I’m still under the illusion that I can bring them back. I’ll let you know how it goes…
Are you aware of how stunning Belgium is? Well, it’s really stunning. I spent four days there in December to check out the Christmas markets and had so much fun! I think it’s probably one of those countries that you either love or hate, but I loved it. It’s not much like France or Italy where the culture is really blatant. I think most things about Belgium are nuanced, aside from the smell of waffles which makes itself known wherever you go. I think in order to appreciate Belgium you probably just need to sit back and wait for it to show its beauty to you.
I went on the trip with my friend Erika, a fellow American living in Dublin. We joked that there must be only 5 people living in Brussels and we just kept seeing them over and over again. The streets were literally empty by 8pm. That’s a far cry from the busy Dublin streets we’re used to.
We also took day trips to Bruges and Gent which are both amazingly beautiful, but Gent stole my heart. Don’t pass it up if you get the chance.
One of the things that we found really interesting about Belgium is that the people are SO NICE. They’re so nice you feel like you need to ask them why. Like, the kind of nice you are to people you’ve known a long time (and sometimes not even then) only they’ve just met you. It was sort of alarming, actually! From our waiter who shared some of his cough and cold tablets with me, to the ticket man at the train station who gave us a discount AND free tickets to an ice sculpture show. Or the waffle-stand guy that made sure we had “the most fresh and very best waffles in Brussels” and the hotel waiter who gave us a silver platter with cup and saucer when we just asked for a glass and some hot water to take to our room. AND the kicker is… it’s all with a genuine smile. Sooo strange!
While in Gent, Erika and I met up with the Every Nation church of Gent. They blessed us so much and some of the lads showed us around the city in the afternoon. You can see us with the guys in the last photo. They were great fun and one of them even came to Dublin for New Years!
So all in all Belgium was a total winner of a trip and I would go back in a heartbeat. Erika and I drank our fill of all the finest beers Belgium has to offer, jammed our suitcases full of chocolate and waded our way through all the nice-ness back to the airport and back to the real world of nominally nice people.
Enjoy the photos!