Had a late start since my bowels were still suffering from the waffle.
I got horribly lost getting to the train station @_@. All I had to do was take the metro to Gare du Midi, but instead of going above ground, I went lower… To the trams. Because I thought the “T” stood for Train, not Tram… Anyway, after some help with my friend, I made it to the train station (Brussel Zuid // Bruxelles Midi) and on the proper platform.
I helped a guy get on the right train and off the proper stop (he was going to Ghent too). He was Indian from Italy, so he didn’t really speak Dutch or English (as in, he didn’t understand “this is our stop” because when I stood by the door to get off and turned around to see if he followed me, but he was still sitting down. I gestured for him to come and he quickly gathered his stuff. I was kinda sad that I didn’t work to learn Italian after the photoventure trip back in 2015. Might’ve had an interesting conversation with him.
This would be a great location for photoshoots.
I thought I was going to be much colder in Belgium, so I brought my winter coat. Yes, I know it’s autumn and yes, I checked the weather before leaving, but I’m from a Caribbean island and I live somewhere that doesn’t quite have seasons, so I didn’t really remember what 10C-15C felt like. The coat was so hot, that I just carried it in my arms the entire day.
And I sat outside when I went to Soup’R for lunch~ Lots of delicious options (they have sandwiches too), but I settled for the Bolognese soup: tomato-based, with penne pasta, meat, and cheese. So good. Should’ve gotten a large instead of a medium haha. Also, free WiFi if you check in on Facebook (or you can ask the cashiers, I think).
I spoke Dutch with the cashier and it was wonderful!
There isn’t a lot of car traffic, but trams and bicycles are everywhere, so be careful!
I walked around for a bit to explore the city. Pedestrians have the right of way in Belgium, so it’s pretty awesome that cars actually stop when it looks like you want to cross the road. Such a difference from Italy where you have to just cross the street and hope the cars stop or at least slow down xD.
Also, some (most) streets have dedicated bicycle lanes and most likely a pedestrian path right next to it. Don’t be a jerk and walk in the bicycle lane.
I think it’s pretty cool that a lot of Belgians are speak Dutch, French, and English. Reminds me of how in Aruba, we speak Papiamento, Dutch, and English. And I wanna learn more languages!
By the way, English is considered a hipster language around here. Like, menu headers would be in English, but then the menu items are in Dutch.
Graffiti Street on Werregarenstraat is pretty interesting to stroll through. Maybe a little scary since it looks like an abandoned alleyway. Not many people come here, but a handful do, so I wouldn’t be too worried about safety. The art changes constantly as well.
They have a number of boat tour spots around the city (cash only). Was planning on taking one, but I decided to visit the castle first.
Gravensteen was built in the 1100s and was restored in the 1800s. Inside is a museum with some torture devices used in Ghent back in the day. The info plaques are in Dutch, French, and English.
I knew I really lost my Dutch accent because the cashier asked if I wanted an English guide (they had the three aforementioned languages) even though I spoke flawless Dutch. Such sadness.
Quick tidbit, Flemish Dutch can either sound slightly different or very different from standard Dutch. Flemish is a Dutch dialect spoken in Flanders, which is Northern Belgium. The four principal Flemish dialects are Brabantian, East Flemish, West Flemish, and Limburgish. Not sure which one it is, but the intonation of one of them sounds Irish. Totally threw me off because I guess I didn’t know what I was expecting. Then there’s one dialect (or more, Idk) that I cannot understand at all.
I took a little longer in the castle than planned (it was bigger than I thought). To my utter sadness, all the boat tours were closed when I left the castle. I usually get up rather early to explore cities, but as I mentioned earlier, I had a late start and I didn’t pay attention to the time. I also missed the chance to climb the Belfort van Gent (Ghent Belfry?) because it closed too. Poor planning on my part! A lot of the cafes closed around 6p as well.
So, I got a delicious beef croquette at one of the few places that was open because I hadn’t had one in forever!
You know when you’re kinda sick and know you shouldn’t eat something, but you eat it anyway? Yeah, totally just did that. I was fine, though heh.
Total miles walked: 14.56 miles.