Friday, March 4, 2011

Belgium! Of waffles and hostels

Last week, two of my friends and I embarked on a journey to Brussels, Belgium. Since classes here aren’t scheduled the same way that classes are back home, we had a prime opportunity to take a quick jaunt into Belgium and experience something outside of our little valley town in Norway, and let me tell you, it was a wonderful adventure. It was exactly the sort of thing that I had hoped to experience during my semester. I went with two friends, Megan and Lisa, and it was very nice having good company for our several hours of traveling each way...

Being college students, we naturally wanted to plan our trip around spending as little money as possible. We had heard of this discount airline that flies all over Europe and decided to check it out. They generally only fly out of smaller, slightly out of town airports, but hey, that's what trains and buses are for, right? So for a total of $25 the three of us were able to fly round trip to Brussels.

After 17 hours of traveling/waiting in airports we finally arrived at our hostel in Brussels (despite wandering around for about 45 minutes looking for the place) just in time to crash for the night. We immediately went to bed, woke up the next morning, and spent the entire day looking around the beautiful city of Brussels. We tried some local fare (you have not truly had a waffle until you’ve eaten a Belgian waffle from a street vendor) and practically drooled over how cheap everything was compared to Norway. We also stopped in a grocery store and bought some snacks that almost impossible to find in Norway (like hummus, for example). That afternoon we went back to our hostel to eat our snacks and met an American student named Christine who is currently taking the semester off and backpacking through Europe.

That night we went with Christine to dinner and she took us to a local pub called Delirium which holds a Guinness World Record for having over 2000 kinds of beer for sale. Being a non-drinker this was not my top choice of evening activities, but I ended up having a very good time nonetheless. We met some Belgians, some other students studying abroad in Geneva, and an Englishman. They were all very nice and very fun to talk to.

After that we decided it was necessary that we finally find a place that sold frites (Belgian fries) as we had be unable to find any earlier that day. We found a shop that seemed to be open all night and were very excited to try Belgium’s “national dish.” Frites are cooked to order and served fresh in a large paper cone. For a few cents more you can have your choice of sauce smothered all over them. I chose curry ketchup and it was absolutely delicious. They may seem like they’re just fries with sauce on them, but the texture is so much better than any other fries that I’ve eaten.

Gastronomically, Belgium was an excellent choice for our two night adventure. All of the food that we had was amazing. My friends and I are currently planning a trip to Gdansk, Poland for March 19-22, for our Easter Break in April, my friend Lisa and I will be traveling through France and Italy, then in May during the long breaks we have between finals, we’re hoping to take a train to the western coast and see the fjords. I would love to travel north into the Arctic Circle at some point to see the northern lights, as well, but a few other students spent 4 days up north a few weeks ago and didn’t see anything. Either way, the opportunities to travel are amazing and I’m looking forward to more adventures!

No comments:

Post a Comment