What’s There in Ghent?

Ever since I returned, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about “my trip to Brussels.” The problem is, I didn’t just go to Brussels. In fact, I made it a point not to go just to Brussels. So, to set the record straight and to do other parts of Belgium some justice, let’s talk about Ghent.

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Views from the castle.

Ghent (or “Gent” in Dutch and “Gand” in French) is the largest city of Belgium’s East Flanders province. Spoiler alert: it’s not actually very large. But neither is Belgium. Ghent was one of the richest European commercial centers during the Middle Ages, specializing in wool production. Though lesser known than its touristier counterpart, Bruges, Ghent can boast just as many beautiful, quaint buildings found alongside the city’s canals. Continue reading

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Space, Surrealism, and Some Pee

As I wrap up my 36-ish hours in Brussels, two words come to mind to sum up my experience: food and construction.

As food is perhaps the most crucial aspect of any journey, I will be making a separate mini-post with delicious highlights & recommendations tomorrow. And in regards to construction…well, it’s everywhere. To the point where I entered a museum this afternoon and found a man shamelessly drilling the floor as I and another unfortunate couple maxed out the volume on our audio guides. There is also an absurd amount of sidewalks and roads being redone in what appears to be a Brussels-wide frenzy to repair all surfaces touched by the human foot. It’s unclear whether such activity has anything to do with an upcoming EU summit…

Inconveniences aside, I had a full day of exploring Brussels today. In an effort to save some money by eating a supermarket yogurt for breakfast, I left the apartment bright and early to visit the Atomium, a structure originally constructed for the 1958 World’s Fair (Expo 58) held in Brussels. For a reduced student fare of 8€ I got access to the entire building, including both the permanent exhibits and a temporary “Atomium Meets Surrealism” exhibit featuring my all-time favorite artist René Magritte.

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All Is Well in Waffleville

Oh happy days! I’ve finally ventured beyond the borders of my host country like a good study abroad student that I am, and I’m excited to update you daily on my Belgian adventures.

Though I have a tendency to announce ambitions projects and then not follow through on them all, I am hoping to also put together a guide for each city I visit with a breakdown of my itinerary, so that y’all can follow in my footsteps one day. [Please hold me to this].

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Apartment views.

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