Amber Harrison, a student at ECU, took an adventure to Brussels in Belgium where she experienced a very different atmosphere than she did in the Netherlands. From the change in scenery, to the language barrier, Harrison describes an experience that she will remember always! She writes…
July 2nd, 2011
“Brussels Belgium is a place I will gladly recommend to anyone who visits Europe! I had the time of my life today. I took a train into Brussels, and it was difficult at first but we caught on fast. Three of us girls from the trip and some of the guys all rode together which made things a little easier. It was an experience seeing the country side from the train window. Buildings looked so ancient, and it was a normal occurrence for the people from Europe riding the train for transportation.
When we walked off the train into Belgium, I automatically noticed a significant change in scenery and people. I heard French left and right when I was so use to hearing Dutch. People were shorter and of a different ethnicity. They almost looked Turkish and many I believe were from France. The buildings were huge and complex in structure. The cathedrals were so handcrafted and detailed. I felt like I just walked into New York City but in a different country. There was no simplicity about Brussels. People also drove some very nice cars and there were plenty of tourists.
The first thing we did was find something to eat. We found a very nice Belgium restaurant. The waiter spoke French and it was difficult for him to speak English. We had a man come buy playing an instrument for us and we ended up tipping him. I noticed a lot of poor people begging for money in the streets. Some of the women were holding their babies begging for money. I just could not fathom how it is such normal occurrence for beggars to be in the streets like that.
I ran for the first Belgium waffle place I found at a vendor and it had white chocolate with strawberries on top. It was some seriously rich chocolate. I have never tasted anything like it. People here take their time in making their food and it is so natural to do so. When we spoke English people stared hard because we for the first time were the minorities. Walking the crowded streets I had to clutch my purse close because a man warned us about the stealing. After the indulging of chocolate we saw the famous statue of the little boy urinating. People crowded and took pictures of the statue that was dressed in a little outfit. I guess they wanted to put humor by putting clothes on the statue but I felt as if it took a lot away from the statue.
The girls and I went into little shops and found that clothes are much more expensive in Belgium rather than the Netherlands. I found a dress I could have bought for twenty dollars in the United States and instead it was a good fifty Euros. Then when I did decide to buy something it was so hard trying to converse in English. The language barrier was much harder in Belgium. They were definitely not as fluent in English as the Dutch people of the Netherlands were. All in all I had the time of my life and experienced so many different things. I will take this with me for the rest of my life!”