Belgium has always been one of those countries that is dear to my heart, even before I met Bart, but my love for the country grew stronger as I get to know him better. Last week he wrote a letter about his hometown, Gent, right here: http://goo.gl/uEOM5H And this week, is my time to share my whole experience in some cities in Belgium.
Let me start first by saying that even if the chocolate shops are literally beside each other in Bruges or waffle shops are all over Brussels or maybe fries stands are defining the whole Belgium, and hell, say hello to all the Beer Museums in there too–well the country is more than just those things! Because the cities of Belgium provided me with such great architectures, peaceful cathedrals, and most of all experiences that I will never forget! So now, I will share to you my Belgian experience in each city that I’ve been to.
Bruges is also known for their Canal Boat Tours, which is also one of the best things to do in there especially with discovering the city.
Bruges or Brugge in Dutch, is indeed my favourite city in the country (sorry Bart + his family + his friends(ha!), I also love Gent don’t worry), besides that, it is also considered to be the most romantic city in the country and one of the romantic cities in Europe. And I agree, my reason is that you know the feeling on where you go to somewhere that you feel that it’s so magical and you’re like in a fairytale scene? Well that was what I felt when there. The architecture, the boats, the cobblestone roads, the colours, and most especially the happenings–that I may say were so artistic–never failed to make this place idyllic or yet one of those that I will always fall in love with each time of the day
This city was also where my parents and I had our first market experience in Belgium, I know there’s a lot (literally a lot) in the country, but it was our first in there. Which is why we found it so cool how they could just stay at the square for half a day and then leave with their food trucks after noon time. Additional fact for this is, if you want to eat cheap good food, I believe a Belgian market is the best place for it!
Also, this photo was taken from the Panoramic Terrace of Historium Brugge, which is also the best museum to see on how Brugge has changed over the past centuries. My overall experience in this city was really amazing, yet it was a short one, so I’m sure I would definitely come back there in the future!
Now on to our next stop is Leuven!
Leuven Town Square at night
Finally a night time photograph! We have rarely seen the night during our Europe trip, because well, it’s summer and you know that summer in there is definitely a bright time for this lifetime. Anyway, moving on, Leuven was just a quick stop for us even if we stayed there for four days because of Rock Werchter (which we will be writing about very soon!). And for me the best one to represent this city is at night. It is a tranquil one to go to, maybe because it is the student city of Belgium, but even without that feature, walking there beyond midnight from the station is really a good thing to experience. Every place looks so safe and sound. And I know there’s a lot of things that are yet to discover in Leuven, so I guess I will do another quick stop there in the future to see more good places.
Left: City Hall of Leuven; Right: St. Peter’s Church
Manneken Pis is for me the best symbol to represent Brussels.
Brussels is the Belgian city that exceeded so much of my expectations! Well, for the past years it somehow did not have the best reputation inside the European Union and even inside Belgium itself. But to tell you the truth, the city is indeed a nice one to go to! I may even call it as an all-in-one place of Belgium, because the Belgian pop culture is so evident there, plus the beautiful shopping place, Galeries Royale Saint-Hubert, is also there, which I may say that please Ayala and SM Malls(Philippine malls) make your malls that beautiful (nah kidding sorry life do not kill me).
But anyway, if ever you will go to Galeries Royale Saint-Hubert, best to visit Tropismes Libraries too! It’s a library/book shop that sells vintage postcards, art books, and the like and most books were written in French and Dutch, which makes it truly interesting for a tourist like me. In addition to that is it is so stunning, it made me so happy that I felt like one of my bookworm life’s dreams came true.
And what I love during our visit there was it was a memorable moment because every restaurant and bars were getting ready for the Belgium vs. Wales game, too bad they lost though. However, speaking of restaurants, Brussels also provided us with so much sweets and fries! So I guess for now, I will let the photographs speak on how good the waffles, fries, and everything were.
I guess food is the best way to end this Brussels trip and the first part of my Belgian experience. But before that, this photograph on your right is one of the ways to get to the Grand Place, too bad we missed the Flower Carpet (which for the longest of time I badly want to go to!!!). But still our stay in Brussels was truly meaningful and enlightening, this place is not just about the bad stuff that a lot know of. It is truly more than what you see in photographs or what you have heard in someone else’s story, because for me it is the city that you should discover and experience at least once in your life.
This concludes the first part of my Belgian experience and stay tuned for the next cities that I have visited over the course of my stay there.