Two weekends ago I went to Belgium to visit my brother and an old flatmate from Prague. I managed to see a lot of Belgium in the space of 3 days (thanks to my brother having a car). I visited Brussels, Mons, Bruges and Ghent. I also got to practice my French, and find out it’s even worse than I thought, and watch the hilarious In Bruges for the first time.
Brussels was my first stop and my most “Belgian” experience, as I tried Belgium beer in a busy student bar and also had the most amazing Belgian waffle with strawberries and chocolate sauce.
Brussels was a beautiful but very busy city and there didn’t seem to be much room to breathe between tourists and weaving through tiny cobbled alleyways.
But a little further outside of the city was the really impressive Atomium building which visitors are allowed to go inside.
The Atomium was expensive to get into (there’s a student discount), but it had a great view and the exhibitions seemed to go on forever. It also had a really futuristic room with an atom lighting up and displays of trippy computer generated art.
Bruges was definitely my favourite place that I visited in Belgium. Although a very expensive city, it was beautiful and had very charming buildings as well as a canal running through it. I also went on a canal boat tour and saw a lot of the canal side homes which tended to be very floral.
Bruges had many tourists but the centre seemed better to handle it than Brussels. It also had a lot of cute dogs.
I went to Ghent to visit my old flatmate who studies in the city. The city reminded me a lot of Oxford. There were medieval buildings everywhere, churches and a lot of cyclists.
I was too busy chatting to take many photos of the city but I was very surprised about how different to Bruges and Brussels it felt. It felt a lot more like an English student town, like York or Oxford.
Unfortunately, I was there when all the students were on holiday, so I didn’t get to experience much. But my friend tells me, typically like English students, the Ghent students have been told off for stealing all of the warning signs and bollards from their city. The Mayor of the city also pleaded in the media for them to be returned, saying there will be no penalties for handing back the stolen signs.