Chocolate, friends and birthday pancakes
I just returned from a country very dear to me, Belgium, where I’ve spent a longer weekend with university friends. Meeting Andreea, a friend living in Amsterdam, was planned yet the lovely surprise was to find out that Teo, a common colleague lives in Brussels and joined us in the pancake adventure.
But until then, let me tell you about Liege, the city I chose to land in for a short trip. Getting from the airport to the centre was quite an adventure I can say. I looked for the bus that would take me to the centre and I was really documented about it, yet while I left the airport and started walking, I ended up going along the roads connecting the high way. I was in the middle of nowhere having quite a precise destination in my mind, yet was more complicated to reach it than I was expecting it. I’ve walked perhaps 2km until I reached a bus station in the end. The bus was quite full yet everyone was looking at me quite weird as I hopped on from the middle of nowhere.
I found the city very charming, pretty much like all Belgium is for me, especially due to the Christmas open market and decorations with lights everywhere. It was already the afternoon but little was my surprised to see people enjoying mulled wine and rum at the quite early hour of the day. I left the center though to walk a bit and discover the older parts. Little squares, old 2-floor houses, paved narrow streets, autumn coloured leaves on the ground, cinnamon smell in the air.
I reached the famous stairs of Montagne de Bueren and I have to say that I thought a while if to try climbing the 374 steps it has. I checked the watch and decided to go up. The view is not something necessarily spectacular, yet the sunset worth the trouble.
With trembling knees I got down and continued to explore the city walking towards the new modern side of Liege. I was not that impressed of it as I like more the medieval parts, yet reaching the train station gave me quite a big joy as I wasn’t feeling my feet anymore.
The train trip is about half an hour, so I tell myself that I can rest just a bit before I’ll have to stroll through Brussels to get to my accommodation. Getting close to Leuven though, I suddenly jump on my feet and decide to get down to visit it. With trembling legs I start a new hunting. Night, dark, cold, pain, yet lights, celebration atmosphere, positive vibes and happy people at the terraces and pubs. I didn’t spend a lot of time there, yet I managed to go through the main part of its old city. Charming with a particular “je ne sais pas quoi”. The day ended with about 20 km of walking. Just 20.
Meeting with Brussels once again was quite delightful, yet only the next morning after having rested well. I joined the meeting for which I was there and came back to the accommodation. I was still tired so I enjoyed my evening inside… sleeping.
The trip went better as Andreea joined me. We had a quite interesting walk through Brussels with pouring rain, seeing new old places, drooling around chocolate, having fun, meeting Teo, making pancakes, celebrating Saint Nicholas and my birthday, talking, gossiping, sharing thoughts of living abroad, reminding the good old times.
Brussels and Belgium always have a special something waiting for me when I get there. I will be back soon, don’t worry.