This past weekend, two other students and I decided to take advantage of the 4-day weekend and travel outside of Germany. Belgium and the Netherlands are fairly close, so we decided to go to do two days in both. The cheapest way to travel is by train. Although it takes a longer time, we booked routes with a lot of transfers because it is much cheaper. We also found that splitting a hotel room was less expensive than getting a hostel. Since we booked the trip last minute, we did not have a lot of options, but we still found nice places to stay in Brussels and Amsterdam.
Our adventure begins when one of our trains to Brussels suddenly stopped right after a station. We waited some time and an ambulance came, so we assumed that somebody was on the tracks. This unfortunately meant that we missed one of our next trains, but that did not set us behind too much. It taught us to have a bigger buffer between transfers for the future.
One of the transfer cities we were in is called Aachen. It is a beautiful town in Germany that we planned on visiting anyway, so decided to spend some time in it before taking the next train. It is a very cute area and is free to get to with our student passes. It is known for its gingerbread, which is very different than the one back home but is very delicious. The bakery we went to has been around since 1858! That’s a pretty long time to be baking the same stuff.
A few transfers later, we finally reached Brussels. This city is gorgeous! All of the architecture is very old and there is a huge square in the middle with beautiful buildings. All of the surrounding buildings, even ones with just souvenir shops and banks, were impressive too. I think the city just hasn’t been remodeled in a while.
Apparently, French fries are actually from Belgium, so there were fry stands everywhere. In Europe, fries are eaten with mayonnaise! As weird as that sounds, it is actually very good because the mayo here is so different. There were also waffle stands everywhere with all the toppings you can dream of. My favorite was a strawberry banana chocolate mix.
Belgium is also known for its beer and mussels. They bring out this huge bucket of mussels and you can dip your fries into the sauce. It is delicious! Every restaurant you go in has a huge menu dedicated strictly to the beer. Apparently, Belgium produces the most beer companies per capita in the world! That’s an incredible feet, and it explains their impressive selection.