Hey everyone! A lot has happened since the last time I blogged!A couple of weekends ago I went to Amsterdam, one of the major ports in the Netherlands, for the weekend with my European Studies class.Amsterdam has some really good shopping and absolutely beautiful canals.
Ever heard of Van Gogh?Well, we got to go the Van Gogh museum, where most of his paintings are kept.I’ve just gotten used to hearing and speaking French around Brussels, so it was a little bizarre for me in the Netherlands, where they speak Dutch.But, since Amsterdam is usually full of tourists, most everyone speaks a little bit of English.The flower market along the canal was so beautiful.There were pots and pots of tulips, and the smell spread all across the street and into my nose of course!
On this trip, I got my first experience with hostels.Staying in the hostel was a little bit like going to summer camp…but smellier.It definitely wasn’t a five star hotel or a Super 8, but it was good for me to see what I should expect over spring break.
Speaking of spring break, my roommate and I have finally made travel plans!The first 6 days will be spent in Paris!I’ll be in Paris on Easter!One of my friends suggested that we have a citywide Easter egg hunt, but I don’t think that would work too well. JAfter that we travel by euro rail to Nice, France on the French Riviera.We’ll spend around 4 days there.Then we’ll go to Rome for about 3 days before we have to make the long train journey back to Brussels.In case you’re wondering, our school gives two weeks for spring break.
Here are some answers to the rest of the questions you sent a few weeks ago.
The housing varies depending on economic situation just like anywhere else.The family I live with has a four-story house (with a garage basement), which is squished, into a row of other houses about the same size.Looking at the houses and buildings here, it almost seems like a contest to see who can build the most creative façade.In the UK and in Paris, rows of houses will all look the same, BUT in Belgium one house cannot look like the one next to it.This has led to some crazy outcomes like houses being painted bright, outlandish colors or having very eclectic architecture.
The family I live with has two cars.I don’t know if that’s the norm because there are a lot of people who use the cheaper option, public transportation.En outre, you have to be 18 years old to get your driver’s license.When school is out, the metro fills up with students heading home.
The unemployment rate for Belgium is around 8 percent, but the unemployment rate for the city of Brussels is much higher at around 25 percent.
The only time I really didn’t felt safe so far this semester was in Amsterdam.A group of boys acted like they were going to rob my friend and I.They probably recognized us as tourists and thought it would be fun to make a joke out of us.That’s why I think it’s so important to blend in as much as possible.It’s become more and more popular for Belgians to dress “more American” with sweatpants and t-shirts and converse.However, there is still a lot that distinguishes us.Brussels has become a little more dangerous recently.A good friend of mine who has lived here for 12 years was robbed for the first time last month.She was driving to her home alone, when a man punched through her window and stole her purse she had left in the passenger seat!Her advice is when traveling in a big city like Brussels, never stay alone for long.
I will continue to answer your questions and feel free to ask some more if you like!