Week ten. It’s finally here, the last week. I say “finally,” but I’m really quite sad to leave. And I’m also writing this stateside, so really it should be called:
Week Ten: A Retrospective
There we go, that’s better. Or more accurate at least. And I’m actually glad I waited for a while after returning from my trip to write my final blog post, because I’ve talked about it at length since I’ve been home, talked about my favorite weekends and favorite side trips and attractions, and all about my internship and what it entailed. The phrase “digital communications” earned the most blank stares, with “the Gebelein Man” in a close second. But speaking of firsts and seconds, it’s time for me to do my favorite thing (see my old MOVE columns for evidence) and RANK THINGS.
Favorite Weekend Trip: Ghent
Ghent was just beautiful. It combined my love of castles with my love of canals (from a distance, they’re smelly up close) and also catered to my newfound appreciation for art, in a big way. The colors were bright, the food was great (Turkish pizza, who knew?) and the history of the city, as vague as that is, made everything else about it that much richer.
Runner Up: Favorite Weekend Trip: London
Really, there was no way London wasn’t going to end up at the top of the list. I got to meet up with some much-missed friends, drink more than I could last time I was there (when I was 9), and take in the bustle of the city in a leisurely sort of way. Plus, my trip to a proper English tea shop was delicious, and the museum I visited was impressive. Not even the 8 hour bus rides ruined the weekend.
Least Favorite Weekend Trip: Ostend
This one is a no-brainer, unfortunately. More like…no-grainer. Get it? Because of the migraine I got? Eh, not my best.
Favorite Attraction: Ghent Altarpiece
I only had to pay like 3 euro to feast my eyes upon the most stolen piece of artwork in history. And it may have been behind a big glass wall, but the colors were still vibrantly beautiful. And the small room may have been filled with tourists, but we were all strangely silent in the presence of such a marvel. Quite a moment, and one I’ll remember for a long, long time.
Runner Up: Favorite Attraction: Madonna of Bruges
Yet another awe-inspiring masterpiece. Plus I was allowed to take pictures of this one.
Favorite Thing in Brussels: The Magritte Museum
I don’t think I can say too much more about Magritte that I didn’t already say in my Week Five blog post. I love surrealism, and I love Magritte. Favorite piece: “The Empire of Lights.” Google it.
So I think it’s fairly telling that I had a “Least Favorite” subheading for each section and had to delete most of them because I couldn’t think of anything to pad them out. How lucky am I, to have had a study abroad experience so stellar that it only spawns one particularly unpleasant memory? So lucky, especially since, as common as the phrase is, this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And what an experience it was. I owe so much to my parents, my teachers, my friends and my boss. Belgium, it was a pleasure. You were kind to me, even though my French was abysmal and my Dutch non-existent. I’m glad I got to know you so well, Belgium, and I’m excited to maybe meet some other countries as I grow. Maybe some of your cooler European cousins.