Author: Julia Riordan
Location: Brussels & Bruges, Belgium
This weekend, a friend and I traveled to Belgium. It was a hastily planned, last minute trip, but I loved every second of it. I initially was unaware that there were trains traveling from London to Belgium. This train, also called the Eurostar, actually travels in a tunnel through the ocean, connecting England to Mainland Europe! Ever since I heard about this train, I was interested in taking it. So, a week ago, my friend Sabrina and I booked train tickets and headed to Belgium.
First, I would just like to preface this blog by saying that the Eurostar is an extremely easy and efficient way to travel. The security lines were short, the stations were clearly marked and the train was clean. However, when you travel under the ocean, it is pitch black. There are lights in the train of course, but you cannot actually see any of the ocean (which was honestly really disappointing). However, it still amazes me that we crossed the ocean between England and arrived in Belgium in exactly two hours time.
Upon arriving in Belgium, Sabrina and I stumbled upon a restaurant called Waffle Factory. Although it is a chain throughout Belgium, I maintain that this was the best waffle that I had while in Belgium (I tried a LOT of waffles). It was slightly crispy and sweet, but also fluffy. After trying some traditional Belgian food, we headed to our airbnb located near the Brussels Midi/Zuid station. It was definitely not the most picturesque location, and a couple of the locals gave us weird looks as we would walk through residential areas with our loud American accents. Regardless, the airbnb was only about 15 minutes from the city center.
The center of Brussels was so unbelievably cool. As you walk down the narrow, cobblestones streets of Brussels, the smell of chocolate wafts between stores. Regardless of how late or cold it is, there will always be people laughing and enjoying dinner on the patios of the restaurants. Brussels is busy and crowded, but the city itself is quaint and friendly.
Our second day in Belgium, we decided to travel to Bruges. We stumbled upon this town while planning our trip and instantly decided that we HAD to visit. Bruges is essentially a medieval fairytale town, with unique architecture and numerous shops. This was arguably my favorite part of the trip. While in Bruges, we admired the architecture and tried some of the chocolate shops.
We spent our final day in Brussels, exploring the city more and trying traditional Belgian food. We were both sad to leave, but surprised at how easy the travel had been.
I was initially worried about my first international trip as a Study Abroad student. But, I know that as the semester progresses, I will gain more experience with travel! I’m sure I will have the opportunity to travel to many more countries this semester and I look forward to sharing my future travel with you!