Sint-Niklaas and Antwerp, The Joy in Belgium

So, I went to Belgium, namely the cities of Sint-Niklaas and Antwerp.

Not Prepared

Arriving there I felt a little uncomfortable by the insufficient research I had done on the culture and the country in general. It was the last day of my finals when I traveled so it’s obvious I had little time to prepare myself. I usually prefer to know more than the basics when I visit a country, so that I can see and enjoy more.

Overall, the trip turned out slightly different from what I am used to, but the experience was terrific.

Warmest Welcome

To begin with, we had amazing hosts. It was more of a business trip if I may and our hosts were the friendliest and most cultured people one can meet.

The myth that European people are colder in nature was busted for me in Belgium. I met so many people through our hosts that were extremely welcoming and sociable. The more I’d have stayed, I feel, the more friends I’d have made.

sint-niklaas pic

How different was it?

While in Sint-Niklaas I learned that Belgium is one of those countries where life is pretty comfortable. I also learned about all the Flemish-French issues. I reflected how such issues can exist in practically every country. Living in the Balkans, a conflict-ridden area, it is not difficult at all for me to understand the situation in Belgium. Read more about it here. 

It struck me how lit the highways were and I was told that they’re even visible from space. Huh. It made me think a lot about costs and how some people in comparison to Belgians, really have no light at all (both literally and figuratively).

antwerpen station

Sint-Niklaas and Antwerp, Different Sides of the Same Coin?! Or Not

Sint-Niklaas was rather small and it seemed very much like a nice retreat from other busier parts of the country. Antwerp was quite different; denser with people and just walking in the street seemed like there was much more going on. Apparently, Antwerp is the second most populated part of Belgium, after Brussels. It also entertains a vast array of people with different cultures, something I always appreciate in a city. Antwerp is also known for all the diamond circulating there, and it even has a “Diamond Office“; how fancy is that?!

As can be expected from most European spaces, there was a lot of architecture and possibility for sightseeing.

Sint-Niklaas is an 800-year-old city and it just has a kind of old historic feeling to it, but it is interestingly modern at the same time. The city also has an oddly gigantic square in the center which is used as a local market on a certain day. I embarrassingly missed the local market because of sleep. Hey, finals=sleep deprivation=self-forgiveness.

sint-niklaas

Food and Feels

Needless to say, I did have the anticipated chance to indulge in delicious food. The breakfast was so fine, every single day. I am a breakfast person so it meant a huge deal to me. From uniquely well done baked goods, to healthier options, I was honestly satisfied. We went to an Asian restaurant for dinner while in Sint-Niklaas and it was certainly on point. We also went to a Turkish restaurant the other day and they did our Balkan taste buds justice.

The Turkish community in Belgium is also grandiose, which is something I never complain about because I love Turkish food and most Turkish people just have the same vibe as people in Kosovo do. The people who are of different origins living abroad, really give me feels, nostalgia. I always relate in a sense because I know that they moved for better opportunities in life and that it takes sacrifice. It is very easy to get caught up in ambition and feel like leaving your country for a better chance at life is just a “good change”. But, it really isn’t easy leaving your home, because home is not only a location, it’s also people and memories.

antwerpen-station

Top-Notch Location

What I probably most enjoyed about Belgium is the geographical position. It is right there in the middle, close to my favorite city, London, and also other important and preferred countries, the Netherlands, Germany, France…need I say more? Belgium is also quite small which makes it really easy to travel to all the countries (and city)  I mentioned and really take in as much Europe (or not Europe for Britain?) as one can possibly want.

antwerpen-picture

What Matters to me now?!

I believe I have left Belgium to return soon, but how soon I don’t know yet. It’s for sure that I have made good enough friends to feel at home when I visit the country, which is a goal of mine. Contemplating, I realized I want to earn more from my travels than pictures, sightseeing and a pill to wanderlust (although I certainly want these, too). I realize that the more I grow old (and boring?! haha), my target shifts and what I value changes.

I know now that what I most love about my travels is what I learn from people and how I can create meaningful relationships. Being able to gain insight from others’ experiences and what they have gone through, makes me feel much more mature. I have learned to actually attentively listen which is just an addition to the genuine interest I’ve always had on stories and people.

What I most cherished from my trip to Belgium was staying up late with our hosts and listening to all the fascinating stories they would tell. I heard so many touching sequences in Belgium and I hope to tell some in the future. But that’s just a promise I make to myself, to share as much as I possibly can.

sint-niklaas picture

P.S. Prague Reflections And The Story Of Me And Miris

and

Wearing Black In The 1920’S

24 Comments
  • Great post, we were hoping to visit last year but never got there, I found this really helpful and hopefully we get to visit this year x

    19/01/2018 at 6:23 pm
  • Laurence
    Reply

    That’s great that you had a great host in a pretty amazing place. I wanted to go to Belgium, because of the chocolates, haha. But of course the scenery. I hope you return to Belgium soon. Thanks for sharing!

    19/01/2018 at 10:12 pm
  • Cassie S
    Reply

    I have always wanted to visit Belgium. You have captured beautiful photos and described Belgium so beautifully. Staying up late with your hosts and telling stories sounds like such a wonderful experiences. I’m glad you enjoyed

    19/01/2018 at 10:20 pm
  • Belgium sounds amazing. My other half has been asking me to go for so long, I think he’s only really interested in sampling the beer! Maybe i’ll Surprise him one day and agree

    20/01/2018 at 12:31 am
  • Great post. Belgium is a beautiful country and you shared some lovely photos. Where did you live in the Balkans?

    20/01/2018 at 11:21 pm
  • Belgium is really beautiful not just wrt their architectures but even wrt different cultural people who live there. I had been to Antwerp as a business trip, yes, I too found it full of hustle bustle, but I loved the way this city has grown, various cultures it has in itself and the way life is being lead.

    21/01/2018 at 3:38 am
  • Having never visited across the pond I always like to read about different places. First impressions are the lasting impressions. I would like to visit and see the architecture and eat my way through.

    21/01/2018 at 11:51 pm
  • Belgium is a beautiful country and I am glad that you had such an amazing experience. It is great that you had such lovely hosts!

    22/01/2018 at 2:37 am
  • I think hearing the stories from other people is almost always the most amazing part of any trip. I love learning about the people and the culture. But the pictures you took were amazing as well. There is just something so beautiful about that old world architecture. Makes me feel peaceful inside.

    22/01/2018 at 7:13 pm
  • Reading this makes me wanna really visit the place . Enjoyed reading it alot and the pictures look wonderful and you’re very pretty ^^

    24/01/2018 at 1:56 pm
  • Good to know your enjoyed your stay in Belgium. Yeah, I have heard that too, the Belgian streets are so well that they are apparently visible from the space! Being a fashion blogger I loved your outfits too 🙂

    27/01/2018 at 7:45 am
  • I have not visited Belgium personally but after reading this I am sure that this is in my bucket list

    28/01/2018 at 6:29 am

Post a Comment