I am a failure of a blogger! I can’t ever find inspiration for a post. Sorry, dudes and dudettes. I will try to redeem myself during my last two months…although I just got deja vu, I’ve definitely said this statement before. BUT really this time… I will try to be better at updating you lovely Americans about my life here in the wonderful land of Europe.
Things about about to get real cray-cray here and not in a good way. So UGent does this silly thing were there are zero assignments due for the first two months of classes. Right about now is when all the tedious group projects/lab reports/presentations are due. Then followed by one rigorous exam before the final exams in January. Basically you have to cram a bunch of information into you head at the end of the year, but until then it’s all fun and games! Okay more like being really, really tired all week long from 6 hours of courses, but the weekends are all fun and games.
On the weekends I have become a seasoned traveler of Belgium (& surrounding areas). Since I haven’t been blogging much/you are way too overwhelmed by all my facebook photos-My destinations have included Bruges (three times, chea!), Antwerp (2 times), Amsterdam, Brussels, Oostende, Paris, and this weekend The Ardennes and Dinant.
The Ardennes was a crazy roller coaster. It all began with a party on Friday that included lots of free beer, only in Belgium, right? There was a girls vs boys singing/dancing/etc competition, in which sadly the girls were not the winners.
The party lasted well into the night, *cough* 7am *cough* on Friday evening (Saturday morning). There will be no further details included, sorry folks. What happens in The Ardennes, stays in the Ardennes. We all woke up happy as clams around, let’s say noon, ready to hike through countryside. It was the perfect way be refreshed after the long, epic night before. Midway through the walk we were given Belgian waffles by the generous ESN team, it was truly a wonderful surprise. The only downside is that the path we traveled was…a bit muddy…to say the least. My boots were ruined, but no matter, it was a price worth paying.
After the hike we headed back to our castle for a board games and other fun things like that. I learned a lot of new rules for Uno from my newly formed friends. These include:
1) 0’s mean you can switch cards with whomever you chose.
2) 7’s hand pile and the last person to put their hand down has to draw cards.
3) If you have the same color and number you can throw your cards in.
4) And others things that I have already forgotten.
These all made for a really fun game and it was interesting to hear how everyone else played the game.
Also, I learned a new exciting game called werewolf. Side note: It was similar to the Murderer game that we used to play in the blackbox at Collegiate all those years ago. Only it was a way more intricate in story and characters. Characters include:werewolves, towns people, hunter, witch, oracle, cupid, and seer. A very fun game indeed, go ahead and look it up if you’ve never heard of it…or better yet… here’s a link.
After dinner it was time for the final party of the trip. Everyone dressed up in extravagant/silly costumes for this one. Then there was a crowning of the King & Queen of Ardennes based on the best costume. I chose to simply wear a shirt with cute little monkeys that said, “going bananas”.
Of course, free beer was included at the party as well.
I tried to go to bed, “early” this night a bit before 4am although the night continued until 7am again for most other attendees.
The next morning we cleaned house and headed off on the bus to Dinant. There we visited the charming Citadel and feasted on Chinese food. We arrived back in Ghent late Sunday with many memories of the eventful weekend.
So ends my telling of the trip to the Ardennes.
Two weekends ago I went to Paris with my parents. It was a lovely, lovely time. Unfortunately it was not similar to a MK&A movie. I don’t think it ever is, but I always have that small hope that it will turn into this.
My favorite part of Paris was going to Montmartre. The charming village on a hill with Sacré-Cœur being the main focal point. The area is filled with artists ranging from those who did comedic self-portraits to lush landscape scenes. Of course, there was also the classic paintings of the Eiffel Tower or The Moulin Rouge.
I finally made it to The Moulin Rouge on this trip to Paris. Sadly I did not run into the lovers, Satine and Christian. Only in my dreams do they live! There was however, a homeless man, parked in front of the club’s sign (look for him in my facebook photos).
We undoubtedly had visit the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Hint to locations like this: buy your tickets online at least a week in advance and you can avoid the long lines. Or get there before they first open. We tried to go in the afternoon to the Eiffel Tower on a whim and the line was nauseatingly long. It was decided that we would go back before opening on another day. This worked out much better and we were in line for tickets and the lift for less than an hour.
Another tip: Always have your student card or another form of ID with your birth date. Lots of museums and other tourist destinations offer a reduced price for students! If they don’t, rude.
The Louvre is the same deal. Buy tickets early or go first thing in the morning. The Louvre also has extended hours on Fridays and Wednesdays. It is closed on Tuesdays. So make sure you checkout the website before heading there (or any other attraction).
We were lucky because we went early afternoon on Friday after spending time in Montmartre. It started raining after waiting about 30 minutes in line, so we were rushed inside much more quickly. Plus, it was Friday so we had lots more time to wander around!
And trust me: you will feel like a zombie after a couple hours in the Louvre, like MK&A, but hopefully the pictures don’t start flying all around you. If so, someone might have slipped something in your drink!
Also don’t expect to see even a whole wing of the Louvre in a few hours, it’s impossible. Especially don’t think that it’s possible to see the whole thing in one day. It used to be a palace for crying out loud, it’s huge!
This concludes my brief retelling of The Ardennes and Paris. If you would like to stalk my time in Paris, just go to my Facebook, there’s plenty of photographic proof to the eventful weekend. As for The Ardennes, that’s only for those of us privileged enough to attend to know about.
Sending friends and family everlasting love from Belgium.
A bientôt mes amis.