Thursday, October 19, 2017

Belgium Travel Diary- Gent, day 1

Hi guys,

Oh, look at me, being slightly consistent with my travel diary :). So, Gent, huh? I was telling you last time that we decided to book a hostel in Gent and take one day trips by train to see other nearby places on our travel list. It was our first experience with hostels. Well, if I remember correctly we also stayed in a hostel in 2009 when we visited Amsterdam for the first time, but it was a 4 bed hostel room and I was traveling with 3 of my friends, so we shared the same room... I don't think this counts as a hostel experience :).

In Gent, we stayed in Hostel Uppelink. It was recommended to me by a friend of mine who stayed there back in August! The location was incredible, right next to Saint Michael's Bridge, it's in this beautiful, old building with super friendly and helpful staff and a cute little bar and chill-out area .They are organizing a beer tour on certain days, that we actually took and it was an awesome experience, it's super clean, the breakfast was pretty good and we really enjoyed our time there. We stayed in a 6 beds room, there were mostly students temporarily living there until they'd find a more permanent accommodation. I would definitely recommend staying there if you plan on visiting Gent. The price was about 20 euros/night, breakfast included, which was super affordable.

We arrived in Gent little after noon, checked in the hostel, grabbed a city map and went exploring. And since we couldn't fully enjoy the area on an empty stomach, we went for a quick soup at this amazing place, walking distance from the hostel. The place is called Soup'R, I'll have the link below, they have a variety of soups, sandwiches and salads, super yummy and quite affordable. They are only open for a few hours and it can get a bit crowded, but we didn't have to wait much for our food or a free table. It's an eat-and-go kind of place and definitely worth a visit.

For the rest of the day, we simply strolled along the canals and streets of Gent, with no direction. We had the entire following day for exploring and seeing the main touristic attractions, so on our first day we weren't pressured to do anything in particular. In the evening, before the beer tour at the hostel, we bought a salad from the supermarket and ate it outside, on the canal near Saint Michael's Bridge, that's filled with groups of people chilling, listening to music, eating. There's this really nice energy and vibe surrounding the area... it felt really good!

We then took the beer tour, at the end of which we received a voucher to take a free drink from the hostel's bar beer selection. Some very kind middle aged Americans donated their vouchers to the rest of us: me, my husband, an Italian and a Dutch student and a "backpacking through Europe" Canadian dude. We spent some time at the bar, sharing traveling experiences, talking about our countries and backgrounds... Safe to say we got a bit drunk in the process but it was a fun first night in Gent and a perfect start to our Belgian beer tour :).

I'll now stop rambling and let you see some photos from our first day in Gent. I hope you'll enjoy! Also, if you have any questions about the city, that I maybe didn't covered in the blog post, feel free to ask in the comment section, or DM me on Instagram (@dresssidestory) and I'll be happy to answer!



Useful links:
Hostel Uppelink

Monday, October 9, 2017

Belgium Travel Diary- Brugge

Hi guys,  

Wow, I've missed this so much! It's been a while since I last sit down and wrote a post on the blog, but I've had such a busy summer. I think I've been doing a good job keeping active on my social media platforms (especially Instagram, @dresssidestory) but I just didn't have the time to work on a proper blog post. Recently I've come to the realization that I kind of miss rambling over here about my trips, and life in general, so here I am, giving it another try at the blogging thingie :).

I've had the busiest year, but in the best of ways! Been traveling quite a lot, went hiking, ran to the seaside a couple of weekends to escape the hot days. After a few years of being pretty much crippled by anxiety, I feel that this year I finally managed to make it work for me! Made a lot of good, positive changes in my life: changed my diet and my eating habits, I have a weekly exercise routine that I hold on to, I took on Yoga and I'm really focused and overall more confident and relaxed!

I've seen so many beautiful places this year, made so many memories that I'm super grateful for and I'm sure they had a lot to do with my new found life balance. So I thought I would do justice to my traveling experiences by sharing them with you guys :)!

I'm not going to follow a specific order, so I'm gonna start with this gorgeous place from my most recent trip, which is Brugge.

In September we took a 12 days vacation and went to visit Belgium and The Netherlands. We flew to Amsterdam, spent 6 days re-discovering Amsterdam (which we had previously visited back in 2009) and exploring the surroundings, then took a bus to Belgium which we would meet for the very first time. We decided to book an accommodation in Gent, and let it be the starting point of our Belgian holiday. Then each day we would take the train to go to different other places that we wanted to see. Traveling by train around Belgium is probably the easiest way to go! At first, we thought about renting a car, as we often do during our travels. But after asking here and there and doing a bit of research of our own, we decided that we would use the train. It's fast, not that pricey, and you don't have to worry about finding a parking spot or not having to drink... :) (after all, we were in Belgium, the queen mother of beers). A train ride from Gent to Brugge costed us about 16 eur each (we went there on a Saturday, the tickets were half off during the weekend), and it took us a little over half an hour to get there.

We arrived in Brugge really early in the morning. We skipped breakfast at the hostel and took off, because it was a weekend day and we knew Brugge was going to be packed with tourists. It was so amazing to be able to explore it during the morning hours and we were blessed with such a beautiful, sunny day with cotton candy clouds. We walked from the train station to the city center (it’s very close and the streets looked charming and beautiful), and tried to reach areas that we knew in a few hours would be super crowded. We went to the historic center, the Burg Square, the Belfort, Basilica of the Holy Blood. Afterwards, given the fact that we are such beer lovers, we had to pay a visit to one of the most amazing breweries, Bourgogne des Flandres. The brewery has a gorgeous terrace and a very tasty craft beer selection. We had a little beer tasting and a cheese plate on the terrace, then went further to stroll along the town’s beautiful canals. We stopped for a quick soup at this very cozy place in the historic center and we then took the Brugge Art Route to visit the beautiful windmills. It was such a peaceful, quiet and very pleasant walk, away from the overly crowded city center.  The day ended with another beer tasting at the famous Beer Wall.

At the end of the post, you'll find the links to all the beer/food places we went to.

We took tons of photos throughout our entire holiday, we couldn't help it... the area was simply too photogenic. Here's a selection of the ones from Brugge, hope you'll enjoy :). Until next time!



Outfit details:
H&M pink blazer (old), H&M turtleneck (old|), Mango trousers, Mango boots