We are finally on the adventure of our life time (up ’till now)! After resigning from our jobs teaching English in South Korea in February, we are traveling through Europe, visiting Paris, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Austria. We spent almost a year planning our two month trip to Europe which eventually evolved into a ten to twelve month journey that will see us crisscrossing Europe, hopping on over to Ireland and then onto the USA for a few months. South and/or Central America may also make its way (hopefully) onto our itinerary.
We started our time in Belgium based in a suburb of Ghent (Gent) called De Pinte. Just 10km by bicycle from the town center. From what we’ve seen of Europe so far cycling is a very popular form of transport. With most of the cities/towns having cycle lanes and dedicated bicycle parking lots. As well as most of the city/town centers we’ve been too being bicycle and pedestrian only zones. But just like Korea the scooters also use the sidewalks and cycle lanes, although here it seems to be legal.
A few days later we had our chance. St Patrick’s day, which was on a Friday, 20km round trip by bicycle and bums slightly recovered. Incredibly enough most of the pubs and the outdoor areas were very quiet. We did however, find one Irish Pub that was bursting at the seams where we enjoyed a few pints of Guinness. Our timing was off and we got caught out in the rain and howling wind on our way home.
Gravensteen, the castle in Ghent, is very well preserved and its interior is now a museum of torture instruments.We didn’t go into the castle, but rather preferred to enjoy the views of it from all around ,whilst sipping some Belgian brews.
We had to try them all. After much deliberation we settled on Max to try the waffle. It came highly recommended by our host and did not disappoint. Super light and fluffy on the inside with a crispy outside. Later that day we tried a street side waffle which was sweet and chewy and saucy and just delicious as well. We couldn’t go without trying some chocolates from Leonidas – the Belgian chocolate shop and had a great time picking and choosing chocolates for our mixed bag.
After walking off the waffles we went to the Dulle Griet, translates to crazy lady in English. This pub is named after the giant cannon which is now on display near the town square. The pub however is famous for serving a 1.2L house beer in a big hour glass shaped drinking contraption.(10 Euro) Tricky to drink from once you get past the first bulge! As a deposit you have to hand over your shoe which gets hoisted up above the bar in a basket. Fun to watch all the other people with only one shoe on trying to figure out a graceful way to drink their extra-large beers. To fuel up for our cycle home we indulged in some more Belgian Friets which were served in a large paper cone with a generous dollop of mayonnaise on top. Deliciousness in a paper cone. These can be ordered with a variety of sauces, even a rabbit stew sauce.