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September 11, 2012

After the Prague program finished, my dad had to teach in Brussels, so we packed our bags and flew on Brussels Airlines (an airline that doesn’t even give you water on the plane) to Brussels. Once there we had to bide our time until we could check in at the hotel.

We drove Southeast to Liège, where the Tour de France prologue would be in a couple days. We went through the city and went to the US memorial at Neuville-en-Condroz, where 5329 soldiers are buried. Afterward we drove to La Hulpe, where we stayed and my dad taught.

The location outside La Hulpe is not great for me, because I had 2.5 miles to walk each way to catch a train into Brussels. So the next morning I left 30 minutes early for the train, walked across the border from Wallonia to Flanders and got on the train in the Flemish town of Hoeilaart. In Brussels I caught a train to Gent, where I spent the day. Belgian trains may be a little expensive, but they are really fast.

Last year I went to Brugge, and while it was very nice it did not have as many of the amazing sights that Gent has to offer. I would highly recommend going to Gent over Brugge.

The train station in Gent is a bit of a walk from downtown, but signs easily directed me there. Gent has more sights, rather just the brick houses of Brugge. I particularly enjoyed St. Nicholas’ Church and St. Bavo Cathedral.

Good thing this boat didn’t hit something about a foot lower…

I spent the late afternoon in Brussels, a city which I am not too sure about… not too sure whether it is a good thing when your main attraction is a 2.5 foot tall statue of a child peeing. Anyway, I took the train back to Hoeilaart in the evening.

The next morning I took the train into the Etterbeek station on the outskirts of Brussels and walked across the entire city, past the North train station. The traffic was horrible in the morning, and the EU meetings that had barbed-wire barricades all over the government district made things even worse.

After a walk across Brussels on a hot day I was back at Hoeilaart in the afternoon, backing to fly to Manchester the next day.

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