Story time Sunday.
Once upon a time, I told one of my teacher friends, Marga, that I was travelling to Belgium during a 4-day holiday weekend. I told her that she and her husband, Pepe, should come with April and I to eat Belgium waffles, chocolate and drink Belgium beer.
One random Friday night, I get a string of text messages saying tickets were bought and hotels reserved! We also planned to rent a car so it would be easier to move around and see all the cute little Belgium cities. Let the Spanish-American Belgium road trip begin!! Don’t worry Mom—I didn’t drive, I was the DJ, as every trip needs a good mixtape.
With various flights and arrival times, I was the first to get a taste of Brussels…literally. I ate a cone of fries, fried two times: once in oil and then in fat. (Nope, not joking) I met up with my tour guide from Rome that I met last year. We caught up, reminisced, and shared a few Belgium beers. Then April arrived, we ate dinner and met Marga and Pepe to make breakfast plans for the following day.
Waffels. Of course. All day, any day, every day. After breakfast we got into our rental car and were off to Ghent! FYI Dad, I haven’t read the Treaty of Ghent yet, but it’s on my reading list. After arriving to Ghent and finally finding a ‘very big parking’ thanks to an unhelpful Belgium, we walked around the town a bit. It was very windy, due to the “mar del norte” North Sea so we warmed up with some coffee from Rosario. Then we got back in the car and headed to Bruges. We only took a small detour (got semi-lost) to see how the real Belgium live.
After some more karaoke to some American rock bands that I’ve never heard, but Pepe requested, we arrived to Bruges. Finding their hotel was an obstacle to say the least. I give mega-credit to Pepe for driving and navigating us through winding, tiny European roads. Suddenly we pass a hotel, and Marga says in Spanish, “Ohh that’s where we were going to stay” Hmm…then Pepe teaches us a few Spanish curse words when he told us how he accidentally booked that hotel for the previous night when we were staying in Brussels. But no fear, they found another place to stay. Then we learned the most important phrase of the weekend, “No puedo con la vida” It’s similar to “I can’t handle it!” But funnier in Spanish, and little did we know that would be the catchphrase for the weekend.
We drop off bags at respective hotels and hostels then go find some lunch/dinner. This was a really great weekend of getting to know each other and working on my Spanish. Marga knows the English basics and Pepe knows a lot of English but he made us do the work. Haha I actually appreciated it because I don’t really get to speak a ton of Spanish during the week. I teach English all day at school and then after school, I teach English. So it was a lot of fun to get to know them better. They’re hilarious by the way…and they better visit me in Chicago so everyone can meet them.
After a few card games and only one spilled coffee, we called it an early night to get some rest. Although April and I hung out at the hostel bar a little later and just played some card games. This simple moment is something I will remember forever—two good friends enjoying each others company, drinking good, cheap beer, and playing cards. What else could you need in life?
Sunday morning we got on the road again to Antwerpen, Belgium. This city came recommended by the rental car company and is one of the largest port cities in the world. We had fun walking around, taking goofy pictures, and enjoying each other’s company. All the cities we visited in Belgium were taken out of a fairytale, architecture and charisma, everything. Still no sight of Prince Charming, much to the dismay of my 13 year old students. Every week they ask me if I have a boyfriend..nope nothing has changed since the last week when you asked.
We get back in the car and drive to Brussels for the last night. We park and I check into the hotel no problem. I look back and the receptionist is having trouble finding Pepe’s reservation. I go see if they need some help and we realize the reservation is for the same date but next month! “No podemos con la vida” We find a room in a hotel down the street and decide we all need some beer. We walk around a bit and then find a hole in the wall brewery to sample some Belgium beers. More card games at the table but no spilled beer this time! Dinner was delicious and the entire menu was in French so we kinda figured out what we were ordering but I just pointed to the table next to me and said that. It was some sort of meat with sauce and it was delicious. We said goodnight and “hasta luego” to April because she had an early flight. P.S. we might be planning a future Spanish-American Portuguese road trip in the future J
Monday morning, Pepe, Marga and I went on a tour of the city. Our guide had the most powerful voice I’ve ever heard. Marga and I found inspiration for our classes! We lucked out again with good weather. A little chilly but no rain! Actually it started raining as soon as the tour ended. We walked back into town, got some fat fried fries and went to the airport.
The plane ride deserves it’s own post to give it justice and to allow me to be super exaggerating and sarcastic.
Overall, this was one of my favorite weekend trips here in Europe. Good company, good food, in Europe…seriously what more could I need? My favorite part was getting to know Marga and Pepe better. They are both hilarious and make a great couple! I’ve been so blessed to know great people in my little town that really care about me. Besos