Supplies!

I’m probably not the only one, but I love to be surprised! In a positive way, that is… A few weeks ago, my boyfriend had me pick between two pictures we’ve taken on trips together. He wouldn’t tell me why I had to do that, so I kept whining (and thinking of insane but possible reasons) for almost two months until one day he was here, and simply stated that I’m really blind. Wait… What? Oh, right. There was a huge box in the living room, which I had completely overlooked!

Of course, the box was supposed to be opened. And in there was… A canvas! This one, to be exact:

Canvas

Look familiar?

I apologize for the shitty, skewed picture, I took it after we hung the canvas, while standing on a (spinning) bar stool! Some of you might recognize the setting from an earlier post, and indeed, the original picture was taken at the Dulle Griet café in Ghent! This time, we were trying out some new beers from their huge beer menu; the Satan and the Deugniet (which pretty much means “rascal”). Both were very tasty, by the way!

Not only is this the first wall decoration to enter the house, but it’s also a little piece of my favourite place on earth (and an amazing memory), right at home. I love it!

What do you think of my canvas? And can you guess why the post is called “supplies”? ;)

Thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X

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Travelling: An Ode To Ghent

I have a great fondness for citytrips, and up until two years ago, I used to go somewhere for a few days every once in a while. Since it’s been quite a while since the last time, and I have a huge urge to get away again. Now that really isn’t a big deal, but… There’s the dilemma thing again. On the one hand, I love to discover new cities, but on the other one, there’s Ghent, in Belgium.

Ever since the first time I went to Ghent (which was on a school trip when I was 15 years old, so quite a while ago now!), I’ve been in love with that city. For some reason, it just immediately felt like home. The old city centre’s medieval gothic architecture is just amazing, there’s art, the food is beyond delicious and the people are incredibly nice, plus they don’t speak French by default, so I guess that’s good for some bonus points! They even have a castle, just look at this:

Pretty! And I swear, this isn't photoshopped! (Image courtesy of http://writingphotography.wordpress.com)

In the years that followed that school trip, I’ve been to Ghent quite a few times, and I’ve even developed a routine there. There’s a specific place next to the river where I always go for brunch (their “sandwiches” are ridiculously elaborate), I have a few favourite restaurants, and then there’s of course the Dulle Griet café, where they serve over 250 different beers! Amongst which is, of course, my favourite:

A delicious beer after a delightful day in Ghent!

Oh, the memories… Thinking of brunch there’s gotten me hungry! I really miss being there, especially now that moving to Ghent isn’t an option any more. At least, not for the next five years, since I’m not allowed to sell my apartment before that time. Luckily, it’s not far away at all, only 2-3 hours by train. In fact, it really doesn’t make sense how different it is, while being so close to “home”!

Another awesome aspect of Ghent are the “Gentse Feesten”, which is a mash up of folk festival, cultural event and city festival. It’s an awesome 10-day-long event (and holiday for everyone who lives Ghent, I believe) with a great atmosphere, where you can enjoy comedy, theatre and concerts amongst (a lot of) other things, and meet new people.

So that’s Ghent, in short. There’s a lot more to see there, though, so if you ever get a chance to go there, you should! But beware; not all Belgian cities are like Ghent. I’ve been to Bruges and Antwerp as well, but Bruges is ridiculously expensive and touristic (probably because of that movie, “In Bruges”), and there’s drunk Brits there everywhere, and Antwerp… Well, it’s a nice place to be, until you get hungry. I’ve been there with my boyfriend somewhere in 2010, it’s a great city for shopping and architecture, but oh, the food… Maybe we got really unlucky, but after our first dinner there, in some Argentinian grill restaurant, we decided to just stick to McDonalds for the rest of our stay.

Yeah, I really ought to go back some time soon. Screw Rome, Barcelona and Berlin! Ghent is the place to be :)

Thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X

Newsflash – Trains Going On Schedule!

I came across a news item on trains the other day. It stated that the NS (Dutch Railway Services) has gained a new record for trains being on schedule last year. While I was still in University, I had to go by train daily, and I’ve had many moments of frustration while doing so because of the trains simply not following their schedule. It used to be a huge nuisance, until I took a four week train trip across Eastern Europe with a friend.

We decided to go by train pretty much because we didn’t have any other options. Both of us didn’t have a drivers license, and I tended to go crazy on planes, which is not charming at all. So we took off one early Saturday morning, to go to Slovenia first. All good, had to switch trains a few times, but nothing unexpected, because we had that part planned out pretty well. We arrived in Slovenia after approximately 14 hours (which is, by the way, literally a pain in the ass time to be on a train!), and decided to stay there for a couple of days. After a day or two, we wanted to take a daytrip to Zagreb in Croatia, which is only a few hours by train from Ljubljana. All good again, until the part that the train had a breakdown of some sort, and didn’t cross the border into Croatia. Luckily, we were feeling adventurous, so we crossed the border by foot. At the time, that felt really awesome for some reason. After we crossed the border, and ended up on a small road, we started to look for the train station. After being questioned by the police -up until today no one knows why they stopped us- we finally found the station and continued our trip. Again, all good, and Zagreb was lovely!

A few days after that, we decided to continue our trip and go to Bosnia. We were supposed to take the same train to Zagreb, as we did last time, and switch to a train for Sarajevo there. No problem there, unless the train would break down again, but we guessed that they probably don’t break down that regularly and left. We had to switch trains somewhere in the middle of nowhere again, but there was some time in between them, so we just hung out and admired the nothingness. And the cows. After quite a bit of waiting, it seemed that the train we had to get, had a delay. When you live in The Netherlands, a delay is usually not longer dan 15 minutes; enough to be late, but not ridiculously late. Well… Guess what? In Slovenia, they last for at least an hour. I guess anywhere before that would just be marked as “in time”.

After quite a wait, a train to Zagreb finally arrived and we got on it. Once in Zagreb, it turned out we’d missed the connection to Sarajevo. Dutch as we were, we just figured to take the next one, since we’re used to having 4-8 trains to one place every hour, which is great because you never have to wait long for the next one. But, as you’ve probably guessed by now, in Croatia they don’t groove the same way. Not just a little, nooooo, they have a groove of their own: The next train to Sarajevo would leave the next day, meaning there was only one train going there every freakin’ 24 hours!

And that was just the first week of our trip… But this wouldn’t be a good story if there weren’t any morals, so here goes:

– If you’re ever thinking of taking a train trip outside of the European Union: DON’T. Their unscheduledness isn’t even the worst part of those trains. Their smell is.
– NS really isn’t that bad (unless there’s snow out there). They’re just ridiculously overpriced.

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little rant ;)

Love,

ML-X