This past weekend I made a little trip to Caen to visit some friends. When I studied abroad there last year, I met a handful of French students who were coming to Baylor for the Spring 2011 semester, and after having a legendary time with them there, I wanted to see them back on their home turf since they are all back in Caen now, finishing up their studies.
My winner of a boyfriend planned a surprise for me on Friday that included the following things: Ghent & Alexi Murdoch.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds… (does it sound easy…?)
I met up with him in Lille around 5pm on Friday after he got off work, and we headed to our at-the-time-unknown-to-me destination of Ghent. We made it to the city with no problem, arrived at our destination, and quickly discovered that the address was in fact that of the ticket office and not the concert venue. Hmm…
Why Hanover, you ask? Well, the boy has a German friend with whom he studied abroad in Ireland in 2009. They are good about keeping in touch, therefore it was time for a visit. We drove through four countries in 6 hours (no big deal), at times going up to 105mph (no big deal), and finally parked on a street near said friend’s apartment which was in fact a street belonging to some kind of red light district (once again, no biggie). Martin, the friend, greeted us at his apartment and we dropped off our things before heading to a nearby Irish pub. Yes, we were in Germany, but these boys are still in love with Ireland so what better way to celebrate their shared experience abroad? We indulged in Irish stew, Guinness, Kilkenny, and even an Irish flag shot that was on fire so you had to drink it quickly with a straw before the straw melted. Right! We also played trivia and were totally winning until it was getting too late and the trivia man was getting too drunk, so we decided to head back to the apartment.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, which was yesterday, I re-read the story of my great grandpa’s experience in Europe as a soldier and POW in World War I, which you can read here. He wrote it shortly after returning from overseas, and eventually, some of my uncles created a digital version online so that we could share his story more easily.
Unconditional thanks to him and all of the other people who have served our country in the military.
“After I killed them, I dropped the gun in the Thames, washed the residue off me hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and walked home to await instructions. Shortly thereafter, the instructions came through: ‘Get the f*** out of London, youse dumb f***s. Get to Bruges.’ I didn’t even know where Bruges f***ing was.”
“It’s in Belgium.”
“Bruges is a s***hole.”
“Bruges is not a s***hole.”
“Bruges is a s***hole.”
“Ray, we’ve only just got off the f***ing train. Could we reserve judgment on Bruges until we’ve seen the f***ing place?”
“I know it’s gonna be a s***hole.”
I’m sorry Colin Farrell, but you are WRONG! If you have ever seen the film “In Bruges,” you’ll understand the ridiculous dialogue above. If you have never seen the film “In Bruges,” I suggest that you watch it, but only if you can bear hearing a four-letter-word every five seconds and have a strong stomach.
Unlike the film, my second experience in Bruges fortunately did not involve unlimited swearing, nor hitmen, nor displeasure. I was very happy to get back to one of my favorite European cities! (You can read about my first visit to Bruges here.) I stayed at the same hostel – Snuffel Backpacker Hostel – yet still got lost trying to find it. After stopping to ask a few times, I saw the beloved sign hanging from the door and checked in. The guy who was working the desk explained everything to me, and after he had finished I said, “Okay great! I stayed here last year so I’m glad to be back.” He responded, “Why did you just let me talk for 2 minutes about everything if you’ve already stayed here?!” Muahaha. Just wanted to refresh my memory!
I had been working for 3 weeks, so it was about time I had 2 weeks off for vacation… right?!
One of my previous professors had spent much time in Amiens and suggested that I take a day trip there. It’s located one hour away from Douai by train, which made it quite convenient (and inexpensive!). I took the train around 11am, arrived around noon, and gave myself 4 hours to explore the charming city. My professor gave me a little list of things to check out, so I had no problem getting around and finding things to see! Here are some of the pictures from my day.