Trip 3 – Brussels, Sensation White, and Bruges

Sorry for the lack of posting the last little while. Here’s what my last 2 weeks looked like: Belgium > Seminar > Final Essay > Dublin > Presentation > Seminar > Exam. I’m finally done all that and ready to post again before my trip to Spain this coming week. So as usual, let’s begin with the awesome people who I traveled with to Belgium. I’d also like to thank Maxim for showing us the city. I met him in Budapest, and since he lives in Brussels, he was kind enough to be our “tour guide”.

It took my buddy Louis and I the full day of traveling from Copenhagen to Eindhoven, and then a bus from Eindhoven to Brussels. When we finally got there, we met up with the girls at Grimbergen Cafe, which has the most awesome food. I had my first and now favorite beer called Grimbergen Blond.

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After the restaurant, we went to two more lounges/bars to get more beer. Honestly, Belgians make the best beer ever. The Chimay (center picture below) was brewed in Trappist Monasteries. Yes, these Chimay beers are brewed by monks! There are only 8 Trappist Monasteries in the whole world (6 in Belgium, 1 in Holland, and 1 in Germany).

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Check out my friend’s expert pouring.

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We made our way to Delirium Cafe, which is perhaps the most famous bar in all of Brussels and the one spot in the city where it’s packed every night no matter what. They’ve also got over 1000 different beers. Mindblowing.

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After Delirium, we wandered around the city and talked to people we randomly met on the street. I would say this was probably one of the most memorable moments on the trip; there is honestly something fascinating about wandering the streets at night and just chatting with strangers. We talked with Americans from the East Coast and tried convincing them that the West Coast was better (it didn’t work), we heard stories from guys who served in Afghanistan, and we met an Australian who thought that Canadians were afraid of the dark.

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After we went to Delirium, talked with countless people on the streets, and went to another club called Celtica, we came across what I believe to be the most memorable moment of the night…and for all the wrong reasons.

At the corner of Rue Gretry and Bld Anspach, we were talking to these people we had met, when all the sudden we heard the loudest thud. I turned my head and saw a taxi was screeching to a halt while a girl flew a few feet away after being hit by the taxi. She was motionless with her face down. All the sudden, her friends rushed onto the street to tend to her, people were crying all around, and one guy took a blanket from a homeless person to put over her. My friend Louis quickly called the ambulance but the operator didn’t speak English, so he had to pass the phone to another bystander. It was one of those moments where I wanted to do something but had no idea how I could’ve helped. About 10 minutes later, she finally regained consciousness and her friends had to help her to the sideway. She was bleeding all over her face. The ambulance finally showed up and she was helped into it. Thank God she woke up, though I’m guessing she was suffering a serious concussion.

We were going to return to Delirium Cafe, but the mood of the night totally changed after this incident. Needless to say we had sobered up completely.

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The next morning, we headed out to meet up with Maxim, when we came across Chinatown. I was honestly very surprised by this, but there were many Asian people in Brussels! I’m not sure if they’re tourists or locals though.

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We met up with Maxim, who took us to some awesome places for chocolate, pastries, waffles, and fries. Apparently French fries are actually Belgian to begin with. Also, I experienced all 4 of the Belgian quad effect on that day: beer, chocolate, waffles, and fries.

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We then arrived at perhaps the most beautiful place in all of Brussels: the Grand Place.

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Urban myth: The architect of this building had been told to put a window on the right hand side of the entrance (behind the lamp in the picture below). When the building was finished being built and the main entrance was not center-aligned with the tower, the architect committed suicide.

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Manneken Pis. This statue is huge with tourists, though small in actual size.

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Brussels is the home of the European Union!

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Arcades du Cinquantenaire, created to commemorate Brussels’ independence.

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Galeries Royales St Hubert.

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That night, we headed to the main event of the trip: Sensation White. This was my first EDM concert so I wasn’t sure what to expect, though I knew that these were usually classier affairs than the ones back home. When we got to the train station, we saw a sea of people all dressed in white, and an hour later on the train and bus, we finally arrived at the arena. We got in at 11:30pm and didn’t leave until the very last song ended at 6am.

The atmosphere is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Imagine more than 10,000 people all dressed in the same color and rocking out to an intense arrangement of sights and sounds. The thing with Sensation is that it is just about the sights as much as it is about the sounds. Awesome experience.

Sebastian Ingrosso’s “Reload” played 3 times that night, and we got so addicted to this song that we spent the rest of our trip humming and dancing to this song wherever we went: walking on the streets, waiting for the train, etc. Yes, we got weird looks.

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We didn’t get home until 9am, and we slept for 2-3 hours before waking up to head to Bruges. By train, this was about an hour away. Bruges is a beautiful small town that actually reminds me a lot like Lund, except it has several landmark buildings and a canal running through it (not to mention a movie dedicated to making it look magical). We saw the entire city on a guided tour on horse carriage; it’s definitely a great way to see this small, charming city. I will leave you now with a few images.

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And that’s that for Belgium! Definitely a memorable trip! PS – I don’t usually take pictures of food and drinks, but when you’re in Belgium, you can make an exception.

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