Quick Trip to Belgium!

Headshot of Rachel Alliker.
Rachel Alliker
June 15, 2023
Pictures of waffles, castles, churches, croissants, flowers, and Rachel standing in front of a door with a heart cut out

Eager to see the surrounding countries close to the Netherlands, we booked a semi-spontaneous trip to Belgium! One of the things on my study abroad bucket list was to see Brugge, Belgium and I knew I had to go before I went home! Trains to other countries had been too expensive to book, but the NS system had affordable trains to Belgium. 

Stop 1: 

We took the train from Amsterdam to Ghent, Belgium early on a Thursday morning. We had to transfer twice (once at the airport and a second time in Antwerp), but everything was clearly marked and we made the trains with ease. 

Ghent was our first stop! After checking in at the place we were staying, we explored historic Ghent. The downtown area is adorable and filled with lots of cute stores and restaurants. We discovered that it was actually the Ghent Food Festival and we feasted on many different treats from lots of booths and food trucks. As mentioned in a previous post, food festivals and markets in Europe have been very easy places for me to eat with my peanut allergy! After the food festival, we headed to the castle in Ghent called Gravensteen. Unfortunately, you need to buy tickets beforehand to enter and they were sold out for the day. Despite the initial disappointment, a stand selling Belgian waffles quickly made up for it! We were still able to visit the surrounding area of the castle and other stores. If you are ever there, you HAVE to visit Aux Merveilleux de Freda delicious bakery in historic Ghent that offers peanut-free options! 

Stop 2: 

The next day, we took the train to Brugge, Belgium! The city immediately looks like a fairytale as you walk through it. The buildings look similar to Amsterdam with their step-gable roofs and the beautiful brick buildings were adorned with little stained glass windows. The streets opened up into flower-filled front doors of stores and a huge bustling Market Square. Market Square was much more touristy than Ghent and some of the stores were too crowded to go into. There were TONS of chocolatiers and I bought a few postcards to send home to family and friends. Walking through the town and exploring the little streets and winding canals was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip! We ended up finding a small park and reading in the park fit the rest of the fairytale feel of the whole city. After reading in the park, we wandered through the streets, which even had a horse-drawn carriage, past stores, lots more chocolatiers, and touristy stores on the way back to the train station. 

We had decided to take a FlixBus back to Amsterdam but I would recommend taking the train back as the bus got stuck in an additional hour of traffic. While price comparing, the two come out to be about the same price. 

Belgium is such a beautiful country and I highly recommend visiting while you’re in Europe! 

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Headshot of Rachel Alliker.

Rachel Alliker

Hi! My name is Rachel Alliker and I am a Junior Psychology major and Spanish and Honors Forum double minor at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY! I am from Greenwich, CT and I’m excited to be studying abroad in Amsterdam with IES (Spring 2023). At Skidmore, I am one of the head tour guides, a Writing Center tutor, a sustainability office volunteer. I’m also a part of the Positive Psychology Lab and Co-Vice President of the Honors Forum. Outside of academics, I love to bake, read, spend time with my friends and my dogs.

2023 Spring
Home University:
Skidmore College
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