Friday, July 16, 2010

Antwerp and Knokke

On Saturday, July 3, I went to Antwerp to see the city... and shop. It was a great time to go because EVERYTHING was on sale! Someone at work told me that there are sales twice a year and in the summer they start at the beginning of July and last almost all month. I was confused when she told me this because in America stores generally have their own sales whenever they want, and massive sales only happen on days like Black Friday. But she assured me that everything in Antwerp, and Leuven, and everywhere else in Belgium would be on sale. I took my time and did a lot of window shopping in stores that were out of my price range (even on sale), but I found great deals on several nice shirts and a skirt and dress! It rained a lot in the early afternoon, so good thing I was mostly inside during that time. I didn't end up seeing a whole lot of the city other than the Meir (the main shopping street), but in the evening I did wander around for a while to take pictures of several squares and the river Schelde.

View of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, taken from near the river. It took 200 years to build and was supposed to have a second tower.

Oh, and I finally had a delicious Belgian waffle from a street vendor! I had ordered a waffle (rectangular) in little restaurants before that didn't live up to the hype I was expecting - they were like 5 or 6€ on a fancy plate and not much more special than a waffle from FFC (Hopkins dining hall). But now I know that you have to get a sugar waffel (round-ish) from a street vendor for like 1 or 2€ in a napkin or paper. They offer toppings like chocolate and fruit, but plain is delicious by itself.

On that Sunday, the weather was fabulous, so the other interns and I went to the beach in Knokke. It was a 2 hour train ride for about 20€ round trip. It was nice and relaxing, we just sat on the beach all day and tossed a frisbee for a while, even though it was pretty windy for frisbee. But there were a bunch of people flying pretty intense kites and wind surfing with kites that were really cool to watch because I've never seen anything like that before. I actually didn't realize it was the 4th of July until we were about to leave! That is one of my favorite holidays so I was a bit sad that I missed celebrating it, but I still had fun without BBQs and fireworks.

Beach in Knokke with a bunch of windmills in the background. I didn't get any good pictures of the people wind surfing with big parachute-like kites instead of on windsurf boards, but they were over near the windmills.

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