Au Revoir, Brussels

Tonight is my last night in Brussels – I can’t believe it! This experience, as I’ve said so many times before, has been amazing. This past year was an extremely hard one for me, and I felt like things wouldn’t get better. After experiencing this new culture and exploring this beautiful country with the friends I’ve made here, I can proudly say that I feel the complete opposite way now. I’m so incredibly thankful I was given the opportunity to come here.

I just checked in for my flight and moved my seat so I could sit near some friends. I used the Delta App, which is extremely convenient! I’m hoping I can sleep on the plane; I didn’t on my last flight, which was not fun. It’s safe to say that I will sleep for two days straight once I get back to the States.

I’ll be heading out with the rest of the New Paltz crew for a final group dinner at around 7. It’s going to be bittersweet, I’m sure. My flight is pretty early tomorrow morning, so I sadly won’t be doing anything tonight other than sleeping, packing, and saying my final goodbyes.

American Feet on Belgian Streets

Bienvenue! Welcome to Belgium, the land of chocolate. If I had known how many chocolate shops we would have seen today, I would have started counting at the beginning of todays journey! And it’s only our second day in Brussels. Yesterday, we arrived in Belgium in the afternoon, we met our host mom, Judith (also known as Maman), and her daughter Angélique. Both are wonderful! Ema and I live together in Judith’s house with two other girls: Erica (of Washington) and Domenica (of Ecudor). This morning, we scouted out the grocery stores of our area: fresh fruit, muesli, and chocolate spreads galore! Later, after lunch, Becca (our third European adventurer whom is living with another host mom) found her way to our house and we “headed into town.” We set out around 2pm with the goals of finding our school campus (check), finding our internship locations (no check), and finding the city center — or what is actually known as Grand Place or Market Square (check). By the end of the day, we had found our specific campus building, learned how to use public transportation, and saw the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula and Market Square — so much beautiful architecture!

flowers

The above orange trees caught our eyes.

bike

Tigger, the bicycle.

stmichelcathedral

St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, much larger than its luxurious front entrance.

market square

Not sure about this building yet, but it’s green! We will be given tours later this week.

market square 3

Another beautiful building, not sure again, but we will soon find out!

That’s all for now, there will be more to come from these already sore feet!

Katie

PS. Below are some photos of beautiful Ireland flying above:

FullSizeRender (18) IMG_2683

Welkom in België

The moment has finally come – I’ve finally reached Brussels! It took about seven hours to get here from JFK to Brussels Airport, which I didn’t think was too bad. As we were preparing to land, my excitement grew more and more. The man next to me seemed to be extremely nervous, and I think I was scaring him even more by recording our landing. When I got off of the plane, I honestly did not know what to expect from Brussels. So far, the city has not disappointed.

As I was riding on the train to get to our hotel, the Ibis St. Catherine, it was really starting to hit me that I wasn’t in the States anymore; I was in an entirely different continent and country. It may sound ridiculous, but that’s what was swimming through my head after a long and sleepless flight.

Due to the terror threats here in Europe back in November, our group had to relocate from a hostel to the St. Catherine hotel. The rooms aren’t very big, but they are not horrible. Once I checked into my room, I decided to break the rules and take a nap. In all honesty, I felt refreshed after getting some rest! I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that jetlag won’t hit me.

Once I was settled in, myself and other students from New Paltz participating in the program explored the area. We ate dinner at Amadeus, a restaurant that is popular for ribs (thankfully they had vegetarian options), and walked around Brussels for a little bit. Christmas lights still cover some of the cobbled roads and it was absolutely stunning to see.

The highlight of my night had to be when we found a waffle place. I personally am not a breakfast food fan and never eat waffles at home. But because literally everyone talks about how amazing the waffles are here in Belgium, I decided to give it a go. Needless to say, if I memorize exactly how to get to this place from my hotel, I will be there at least four times a day until I leave.