I'm Olivia. I'm a perpetually hungry redheaded girl from New York. I eat, sleep and breathe Korean pop music. I speak French and am studying Korean language and business in school. This fall, I'm setting forth on an exciting and terrifying (seriously I'm so nervous I might pee) solo journey across Europe. Hopefully this experience is full of bright, fun, and exciting as well as ridiculously stupid experiences that I can share with you!
You guys, I'm so sorry! It's been so long since I've written anything, so this entry is gonna be really long...
So, I'm in London now! But first I have a couple days left in Brussels to talk about. My last entry ended with Bruges. The day after that I didn't do very much except walk around. There was a teashop I wanted to go to, so I walked there and passed through an Asian neighborhood full of restaurants and supermarkets. There was even a K-pop store but they didn't have a very good selection. I stopped at a thai restaurant and had some noodles.
I walked to the tea shop and had some of this cake. THIS FREAKING CAKE.
After that I went back to the hostel and did some laundry. I only went back out to find dinner which in actuality was really difficult. I had to walk about a mile away to get to the center of the city and most places that were open were Turkish kebab places. So I went there and ate for about 4 euro. Also THEY PUT FRIES INSIDE IT WHAT EVEN
Also I took a picture in the Grand Place at night. So pretty!
So the next day was even less eventful as it was a Sunday. Pretty much the only thing you can do on a Sunday in Europe is go to a museum or park. I forgot to mention this really weird thing that happened to me right before Kizuki left. We were sitting in the lobby on our computers when a woman came up and asked if she could check an e-mail. She kept speaking french to Kizuki and was insistent on using his computer (which is in Japanese, fyi) I kept telling her in french that if she needed something she could ask me. She couldn't get into her email and then walked away. After a few minutes she came back and pointed at my pants, saying she thought they were hers, and that they were stolen from her the other day. To be honest, I'm not even sure this woman was staying at the hostel. It's really likely she wasn't. She started saying the same thing about my sweater too. She even started telling other people that I'd stolen her clothes. I told her to go away, and eventually I left the hostel to get away from her. Okay, so back to Sunday. My plan was to go to the Musée de Beaux-Arts. I bought my ticket for 2 euro using my card, and didn't have any cash to check my bag. THE FREAKING GUY WOULDN'T LET ME IN. The guy at the coat check told me that it would probably be okay, but nope. And the closest ATM I could even find (unless I wasn't looking hard enough) was a half mile away. By the time I got there I decided to bag going to the museum and ate some fries instead. I'm so sick of fries after Belgium I cannot even tell you.
Also I found this cool graffiti on the way back and stopped for a quick cup of coffee.
After that I was craving some serious sweet food. I went to the supermarket and bought an instant dinner, some cookies, and oranges. I met two guys in the kitchen from Canada and the Netherlands and together with them and some people from Australia I went to a bar for a couple drinks. At this bar, you could get beer served to you IN A HORN. It was freaking ridiculous but to be honest the beer inside was really terrible and really you're paying for the horn.
After that we went back to the hostel and had some more beers. I ended up going to bed at 2 in the morning and got up at 8 to catch a train to Ghent. Ghent is about 20-30 minutes away by train. I did so much here in one day, I was so exhausted by the end. In total, I walked at least 15 miles because I'm too cheap to pay for public transportation and also walking is a fantastic way to explore a city! First off, let me start by saying...Ghent is a weird freaking city and I totally loved it. Walking around, I saw really bizarre advertisementts.
John Malkovich...so many of you..staring into my soul...I don't...I don't think I want to buy clothes here...
So I walked into the center of the city. There's two enormous cathedrals and a watchtower right in the center! I went up into the clocktower and took this photo.
There's a famous altarpiece here by Jan van Eyck called The Lamb of the Gods. I wasn't allowed to take photos of course, but here's what it looks like! It's huge in person and inside a glass case, and the details are really amazing!
After that I walked to another part of the square and bought some candy that Ghent is really well known for. They're called noses and are like gummy candies that are hard on the outside and gooey on the inside.
I walked around and found a really good restaurant that was family run. The whole menu was handwritten in Flemish and the waiter translated it all for me. Of course I forgot everything he said right after, but I ended up eating pork-cheek curry. It was fantastic! On the way I took some photos around the city.
And here's my food~
I read on a map that Ghent is an amazing city to see graffiti in. There's two main groups that do it, as well as one particular guy who's famous for painting black and white animals around town...I forgot all of their names, but on the outskirts of town in a shipyard there's an abandoned factory covered in graffiti. I walked over there and took all of these pictures.
There's also a pedestrian walkway that's covered completely in graffiti and if you want, you can bring your own paint and paint there without worrying about being arrested for vandalism! On the way there I saw even more cool murals.
Here's the street~
After that I stopped for coffee and a waffle in this really cool café.
After that I went to a medieval castle called the Gravesteen, where there's a seriously informative medieval torture museum. I didn't take any pictures inside. Also on my map it said that you can't go to Ghent without visiting it's citizens' favorite building. This building is called the Vooruit, and I stopped here and had a drink. It's 100 years old.
I got back on the train and got back to the hostel at about 6 or 7. I made some pasta and then sat out on the patio with the guys from the other night. There was this group of young french girls, about 15 or 16 years old, drinking on the patio. They were extremely loud and drunk. One girl was getting chatted up by (I kid you not) the slimiest, greasiest looking 35+ year old men I have ever seen. Since I could understand their entire conversation, I was honestly worried about them trying to take advantage of this girl. Her friends kept trying to get her to bed, and eventually I went up to the desk to tell them I was concerned about her. The man at the desk assured me everything was fine BECAUSE THE MEN WERE EMPLOYEES AT THE HOSTEL. I'M SORRY SO DOES THAT MAKE HITTING ON A 15 YEAR OLD OKAY? I know hostels vary in customer service, cleanliness, and overall guest comfort but they are all supposed to be safe places for young people to sleep at night. Ideally, anyway. The next morning I left the hostel for the train station and arrived three hours early for my train (by accident.) I chilled as a coffee shop using the wifi until about 40 minutes before my train left. I waited in line for customs, got to the window, and the guy told me I had to fill out a sheet. I filled out the sheet as best I could, and the guy started asking me all of these questions about where I was staying, when I was leaving. He started talking about how they reject people who don't have details for their trip because they could be lying about how long they're staying. He really made me think he was gonna deny me and I started to tear up in front of him. After that stupid stress, HE APPROVED ME AND YOU KNOW HE TOTALLY WOULD HAVE ANYWAY SERIOUSLY I KNOW THEY HAVE TO BE CAREFUL BUT COME ON YOU MADE A YOUNG GIRL CRY. I got on my train and arrived at St. Pancras station in London 2 hours later. I didn't have many plans that night until I met two Australian guys both named Mitch in the kitchen. One of the Mitch's and I went out to find some food, and we ended up walking around for an hour and a half. We just got Subway. We also went to a convenience store and bought these cookies called HobNobs, which to be honest are like crack and Mitch has probably mentioned them about 50 times in the past couple days. I had bought 2 tickets to the Harry Potter Studio in Leavesden and Mitch came with me the next day. My inner fangirl was SCREAMING OKAY.
These are the robes Daniel Radcliffe wore when he was 11 years old...how cute is this?
Okay this isn't everything I've done so far but I think I want to break this entry up a little and my computer is running out of battery. I'm also exhausted so I'll try to finish this entry tomorrow!