Nicole Evanger, a senior Accounting major at ECU, writes about a free day in Brussels, Belgium. Excited to experience the waffles, chocolate, architecture, and overall culture of Belgium, Nicole ventured around the city enjoying every step of the way.
She writes on July 2nd, 2011,
“Today started off bright and early in Groesbeek, when a group of small students and I all caught the earliest bus to Nijmegen. We had planned a trip to Brussels, Belguim for our free day and bought train tickets the previous day. I was very excited because I had never traveled on a train or been anywhere else in Europe. As we arrived to the train station the first thing I smelled when we got off the train was real Belgian waffles. They smelled delicious and right then we decided that we had to try one when we got into downtown.
As we began making our way toward downtown I noticed all the tall beautiful buildings. I was surprised to see that this city had newer skyscrapers as well as very old architecture. Once we made it into the center of the city the buildings and cathedrals were so old and built with so much intricate detail that I have never seen. I felt like I had fallen back in time or into a movie with the stone buildings and all the sculptures. Everywhere you look or walk to in the city seems to have its own unique feel to it, as there were so many things it offered.
After being exposed to the Dutch language during our time in the Netherlands it was strange to hear all the French in Brussels. When we asked a local what they the were like he said it was a mixture of everyone there and depending on where you travel in the city determines what type of people you will find there. We noticed that Brussels was crawling with other tourists like ourselves also searching for things to see and foods to try.
There were so many different types of food to eat and so many shops to discover. We decided to get some local food and have a Belgian beer. We each ordered something different and all the food was incredible. After our meal we continued our adventure with a goal to find some incredible Belgian chocolate that I’ve heard I had to try. While we walked further and further into the city the streets got more and more crowded with a melting pot of cultures. Walking through the crowd I had to keep my head up so I wouldn’t lose my group and get lost in the sea of people. More than anything we went to many different chocolate shops. Every store we explored offered something different. The chocolate that we bought was so rich and delicious. It literally melted in your mouth and offered a combination of flavors. I’ve never tasted such amazing chocolate before so I had to buy some to bring back to America.
Throughout the city we stumbled upon so many different sights and remarkable landmarks. One of my favorites was a statue named “Manneken Pis”. This statues current version was created in 1619 and is a sculpture of a little bronze naked boy peeing. When we found it I was surprised to find him fully clothed in a shirt, shorts, and a hat. We also Brussels grand place which dates back to the 15 century, Royal Square, and the St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral. All the buildings took my breath away because in America there are not buildings that date as far back or that are built the way Brussels was built.
After our long adventure through the city we were tired and ready to return to Groesbeek. One our venture back to the train station we bought authentic Belgian waffles for dessert. Mine was covered in fresh strawberries and warm chocolate. It was so delicious and rich in favors; I have never tried a Belgian waffle in the States that tasted so delectable. After we devoured our treats we were finally back and the train station and waiting patiently to catch our long train ride back to Nijmegen. Belgium was such a rich and beautiful city that offered so many good foods and unique sights along with a whole mecca of different people, dress, and culture. Brussels is a city I could spend many days exploring because it had so many wonderful things to offer that we couldn’t squeeze into one day. All in all our excursion to Belgium was one that I will remember for many years to come.”