Page 4 of Awilliams Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels February 20th 2010

We got up early the next morning and headed back into the center of town to visit two last things we wanted to see in Bruges: the bell tower and the Choco-Story Museum. The weather was absolutely stunning outside--the best day of our trip by far! The sky was clear and blue without a cloud in the sky, and the sun was shinning brilliantly and warming my face like an old friend. Suddenly, I was in love with Bruges. All of the houses and buildings looked better in the sunlight, and we watched little duckling swim down the part of the canal that was thawed. So we walked through the main square and towards the entrance to the bell tower, which is 366 steps high. We paid the entrance fee and started our climb up the ... read more

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges February 19th 2010

I woke up early in our eco-hostel in Gent. I didn't sleep much because I woke up feeling feverish. Despite the mild temperature of the room I was burning up! I was clearly getting more sick despite the Belgian cough syrup that had been prescribed to me at the pharmacy the day before (and which I had been swigging religiously). At breakfast I told Sarah I needed to take it easy today. If only we knew! So we left the hostel around 9:30am and headed into town to see visit Saint Bavo Cathedral, where the altarpiece is. We walked around the cathedral (which was pretty darn awesome) and enjoyed the sights but didn't see the altarpiece anywhere. Finally we found a room that you have to pay 4 euro to get into. It was so worth ... read more

Europe » Belgium » East Flanders » Gent February 17th 2010

I didn't sleep much that night. It was loud, and my throat was really hurting all night and making me feel like I was dying of thirst. When I got up in the morning my cough was worse and I wasn't feeling so great. Sarah and I went down for breakfast. We'd payed 2.50 euro for it the night before, and I wasn't expecting much based on the rest of the hostel. But man were we surprised! On the table was a spread of fresh breads, meats, cheese, jams, butter, nutella and sprinkles! You see, the Dutch--and the Flemish Belgians--really like eating toast that's spread with nutella and covered in sprinkles for breakfast! After our awesome breakfast we shouldered our packs and headed out to go explore Antwerp before we left for Gent. We followed the ... read more
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Europe » Belgium » Antwerp Province » Antwerp February 16th 2010

Ok! So it's Monday the 22nd now, but since I didn't have internet for the second half of the trip I'm just writing theses blogs now! I got back yesterday. Let's go back in time and pick up where we left off........ So Sarah and I woke up really early to go and check out the goat farm and "midget golf" only to be completely foiled. We took the bus to a super random part of town, but the walking directions that the bus website had given Sarah didn't match up with where we were at all. We walked around in the freezing cold and snow for a while, not seeing where we were, and eventually gave up on our dreams of seeing the 7 famous goats at the farm and the 100 different types of ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Brabant » Tilburg February 14th 2010

After sleeping in until 11:00am, Sarah and I finally wrested outselves out of bed and started our day. It was snowy outside, and cold, cold cold! She introduced me to some of her friends here, and then we ate a simple brunch in the kitchen. Then we got into our carnival costumes!!! Sarah was a mermaid wearing blue and green and I was a butterfly with a mask I'd bought in Amsterdam. HEr friend Bali was a zebra! fun! Around 2pm, we headed downtown on the bus to see the Carnival parade! Downtown, despite the cold, there were quite a bit of people out dressed in ridiculous brightly colored costumes watching the parade floats go by. Load polka and techno music could be heard, and the floats had signs in Dutch and often, large paper mache ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam February 13th 2010

Sarah and I woke up later in the morning and caught breakfast after checking out. I ate brown bread with butter and jam, orange juice, cheese, anc coffee. Then we headed through the red light district, which was still sleeping and muddled around with the map until we found our way to the Rijks Museum, Hollad's storehouse of art treasures. We waited outside in the bitter cold in a line that was way, way too long. Behind me, I heard a couple speaking in French. The man was saying he wasn't feeling well, and she suggested he eat something. A few minutes went by and then out of the corner of my eyes, I saw him holding on to his chest with a wide eyed expression on his face. His whole body started twitching and he ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam February 12th 2010

My day started at 5:45am. Somehow I woke up before my alarm. Cyntia was asleep in the other room, and I was somewhat jealous that she would be starting her day much later than me. I had conviced her to stay the night with me at Christine's house, because it really close to the train station. We watched New Moon and then went to bed around 12:30am. Soon I was dressed and out into the snowy streets with my backpack to catch the bus. At the train station I caught train #1 to Paris. I slept most of the way, but was woken by the conductor coming over the speaker to say that we would be about 30 minutes late. Uh oh. I only had an hour between my train to Paris and my train ... read more

Europe » France » Burgundy » Dijon February 7th 2010

It was 10pm on Friday night, as suddenly I had the itch to plan a last minute trip. Pulling up a map, I saw that Dijon--capital of all things mustard--was only a 15 euro ticket away (and that's round trip!) The next morning (yesterday), Cyntia and Tricia and I hopped on the TGV to go explore this famous city. I was especially excited to leave our own region of Franche-Comte for that of Burgundy, known for it's Boeuf Burguignon, Coq au Vin, escargots, and excellent wine. After only an hour on the train we reached the Dijon station and began our adventure. As it was lunch time, we decided to eat before doing anything else, so we found a lovely little restaurant right next to the Dijon Cathedral. I had lapin moutarde (rabbit with a creamy ... read more

Europe » France » Franche-Comté » Besançon February 2nd 2010

They say that you should never accept rides from strangers. And the people who tell you this are absolutely right…for the most part. But when you have class until 7:30pm and then find out at the bus stop that the buses aren’t running because of the snow, and you find yourself in the deserted downtown with no way to get back to your residence hall (which is inconveniently on the outskirts of town), not to mention you have no idea how to even get there if you were crazy enough to try and walk, somehow a ride (heck, you don’t even care with who) starts to sound good. At the bus stop there was another girl waiting. After talking with her and finding out that she had been sitting there for a while and had seen ... read more
yay france!

Europe » Switzerland » South-West » Geneva January 24th 2010

FRIDAY: ST. LUPICIN There Cyntia and I were, sitting in a tiny parish meeting room, surrounded by French people who had just welcomed us in. Upon entering the Catholic catechism meeting late with Christine, we introduced ourselves, and went 360 degrees around the table, doing bisous with every single person there. (note: "bisous" is the European and specifically French tradition of kissing both cheeks of someone when you arrive and depart). Everyone there was so welcoming and curious about us. The Jura mountain region of France, and particularly the tiny town of St. Lupicin hardly ever see foreginers. You could say that coming here is a little like going somewhere like Montana or Kansas in the U.S.--they don't see many tourists, and they were curious why the heck we wanted to come here. Neither Cyntia and ... read more

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