Bonjour, Hallo, Begroeting!
As part of the program, we get Friday through Sunday off to travel and this weekend I went to Belgium.
In Belgium, each sign looks like my intro above, because they have three national languages: French, Dutch, and German! Most people there also speak English because that is what is spoken at the universities. It was so impressive to me that many people there potentially know three languages because that is not very common in the U.S. Their culture is very unique because of the heavy Dutch and French influences. I would consider Belgium, specifically Brussels, the melting pot of Europe because of this.
We stayed in Brussels for the weekend with one day trip to Bruge. Brussels is a very unique city and was not at all what I expected. To start the weekend, we completed a walking tour in the snow. While this was beautiful, we were frozen! The tour was really interesting and informative though, which was nice because otherwise we would have been lost and not known where to go or what to do! If you are ever in the city, I would suggest a visit to Grand Place. This was my favorite part because each building was so beautiful and nothing has changed since the late 1800s.
Another great aspect of Brussels was the food. Of course we had to have Belgian waffles, which lived up to their expectations! Brussels is also known for their french fries because they fry them twice. As a huge fan of fries, I ate some everyday, but my favorite were the ones we got from a street stand! Lastly, we had to try the Belgian chocolates! Since chocolate is one of my favorite food groups, it was very enjoyable discussing the different truffles in each store with the workers and trying the unique flavors.
One tip I have for students in the Joseph S. Bruno program is to take advice from Roberta and Cinzia about what to see! They know their stuff! Roberta suggested we go to Bruge and that soon became my favorite part of the weekend. It is a fairytale and I expected Princess Belle to jump out of a building at any time. We took the train there, which was cheap and only an hour each way. Once we got there, we explored the city, ate food, and took pictures. It is considered the Venice of Northern Europe and there are many canals that you can take a boat tour on. It was absolutely beautiful!
Belgium was a great weekend trip, but if I ever go back I want to go during the summer months. This is because it was very cold and there are many more things to do in the summer that aren’t available in the winter. Nonetheless, it was an amazing weekend that I won’t forget!
Au revoir, Tschuss, Doei!