Just a two hour Eurostar train ride away from London, Belgium was a quick and easy getaway after a full week of classes and my first glimpse of Europe as I had seen in the movies growing up. It's crazy how a country so close the U.K. could have such different culture, architecture, and language but still have the ability to captivate me just as easily with its cobblestone streets and picturesque landscape as any castle or back-alley street in London.
After stepping out of the taxi at our hostel in Bruges, I immediately felt like I was on a film set. Each building was so perfectly constructed and each statue so percisely carved out that it was hard not to spend hours staring at the world around me thinking about the stories behind each masterpiece. Every shop and restaurant was quaint, and the town was quiet and devoid of tourists in the early morning hours, making it feel like every expereince I had was tailored to me. The locals were friendly and encouraged my friends and me to take a break from the American culture of constantly running around to sit down, drink a cup of tea, and take in our surroundings.
Brussels was a movie. Every building flowed into the next mixing old with new, stone with glass. Everything felt calculated and if you followed the correct path you could traverse through a full cinematic tale with palaces, monuments, and food on every corner. The city was poetic and hidden treasures could be found past the sea of tourists in the walls and shelves of churches and gazibos in park centers. To say I felt at ease in Brussels would be an understatement. I felt at home.
I sent a post card in Bruges and another in Brussels to collect memories and stories of my own. When I get older and my recollection of steaming cups of Belgian hot chocolate and psalms echoing through basillicas start to fade, I will look back at the words I wrote and remember how lucky I was to experience a country with enough history to fill thousands of bookshelves and enough stories to write thousands of movies.
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<p>Lexi Floom is a student at Indiana University majoring in Informatics with minors in Technology Consulting, Marketing, and Game Design. Last summer, Lexi interned abroad in Israel and strengthened her love for all things creative and adventurous. She can't wait to travel across London and Europe this semester and discover the hidden gems each country has to offer.</p>