There finally came the moment when I could pack my pink suitcase and embark on a short journey across the land of beer, waffle and fries – Belgium.
Since I haven’t been on a trip for ages (!!!), I decided to use this opportunity and travel as much as possible. It was pretty intense and to be honest I came back home more tired than I had left but hey, the experiences! 🙂
I started the trip very early in the morning to get to the airport and take Ryanair flight to Charleroi, a town situated to the south from Brussels. When I arrived there, I couldn’t help it, I felt the urge to eat my first waffle.
As I learned later on, there are two types of waffles: Brussels and Liege. The one in the picture (and in fact the one that would get during my whole trip) is the Liege waffle. It’s round, smaller and thicker, more like bread batter, and with sugar that carmelizes and forms a crispy coating. Brussels waffles, on the other hand, are thinner, rectangular and softer in taste. To me personally it doesn’t matter which one I get, I love them all!
After this short and sweet break, I took a train to Brussels, where I had to change once more to get to my place of destination, Hasselt.
The train ride was a true pleasure. French part of Belgium is really picturesque, a lot of small towns and villages situated between the hills, mountains and forests. A lot of castle type buildings, a lot of nature, French vibes. Beautiful!
One interesting note. There are several official languages in Belgium. It was a really funny to suddenly hear a strange language in the train speakers. I panicked a little at the beginning, I wasn’t sure what was happening, but soon I realized the communicate about the next station goes in two languages now. My friends told me that in some other parts of Belgium the same announcement can be delivered in 4 languages! Imagine this.
I arrived in Hasselt some time in the afternoon and decided to have a walk around the city centre. I was totally surprised by the beauty of this small town in the north-east Belgium. I regretted I had just one day there because it is really a place worth visiting.
A huge contrast with this French, romantic and a bit chaotic South, Hasselt is a well-organized, clean and very Dutch town. Pretty market square with a lot of restaurants and cafes, where you can try some local dishes. I went for pancakes (the original translation, however, they’re rather crepes when it comes to preparation and serving) with a traditional sirop that to me tasted more like a marmalade. You can also have them with brown sugar, two typical ways of having panackes.
and after the walk: Belgian fries and Belgian beer!
I spent the following day with a Couchsurfer I stayed with, a lovely and caring girl. Despite very big plans for the early afternoon, we spent it talking and exchanging travel experiences, sharing future plans, drinking tea and coffee and spending time in the backyard eating chestnuts picked in the forest.
She invited me to join her and her friends on a short trip to Bokrijk, a picturesque rural area just 10-minute ride by car from Hasselt (Genk area). There’s a castle there and Heritage Museum where you can see how the old-time life of Belgians was. We opted for a walk in the forest near the castle and some more traditional pancakes in a cafe located to the left from the main entry to the castle. Of course, 4 girls in the forest mean trouble. We got lost but in what surroundings! Autumn colors, searching for mushrooms and long chats and laughs. Dank je wel, girls!
There’s just one experience left from Hasselt, that deserves a separate post so stay tuned. To sum up, I loved my Haseelt part of the trip. I’ll be back there without doubt! Lussesita left Hasselt happy and full of energy. 🙂