Hashtag Travels With Bae

I had a great summer holiday. And with a great summer comes a great hashtag. #travelswithbae seemed to do the job. Thank you readers, for reading, I hope you are up for the many pictures that lie ahead. Below I’ll talk about my time in Prague and Belgium. Ready? Lift off!

Prague

After last update (insert clickbait) we went to see the Prague school of buddies that Joke and I had spent a lot of time in Suzhou with (read, for instance, how we climbed China’s Yellow Mountain together exclusively in this post). So yeah, my Czech Suzhou roommate Jan, Helena and Misa were a big part of the year in China and hopefully will stay close friends for the rest of my life. In 2014, right before I went to Taiwan for a summer school, we went to visit them in Prague and I felt the time had come for a revisit, because Prague is beautiful, as this main view of the Charles Bridge (Karlův most) and Prague castle (Pražský hrad) shows.

20170716_124122 Prague, as we all dream of it

Jan told us that Prague used to be composed of many different “cities of Prague”, as we strolled in Vyšehrad, one such a city on the other side of the castle. This church, which I like better, was at one point the scene for one of Jan’s friends and apparently they played Elvish music from Lord of the Rings while the bride was on her way to the altar.

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Then, next, I should show pictures of the gardens you can visit in Prague. Going from the Senate garden to the Fürstenberg Gardens to some secret garden which was only marked in Czech so only the locals knew about it. It is also where I learned to say ‘two tickets’ for me and CJ in Czech: dva lístky. Notice also the two peacocks casually strutting through the gardens; some are just normal, others are white!

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Being able to get two tickets was all very nice when you have a Czech person with you to deal with the Czech responses, but not when it’s just the two of you ordering dva lístky for the Jewish graveyard but not being able to understand a single slovo of what the ticket babička is trying to sell to you. Still, the Jewish part of Prague, Josefov, does leave a big impression on most tourists — the ones that are not too busy taking good social media pictures or chatting about their lives. It’s a bit like the Jewish monument in Berlin (see my post last year) where people assume it’s okay to make fun pictures between those stones. It is not. Okay, that’s out of my system. Here are beautiful pictures of the Jewish quarter.

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Our trip in Prague was a bit short, just four days. It really was a #PraagseVierdaagse. In the remaining time we met up with Helena (thanks for the breakfast), did a blitz visit to Prague castle, saw the turning head of Kafka, thought we were in a French castle, and explored the lovely upcoming neighbourhood Jan lives in called Karlín. Thank you guys for spending time with us and showing us around!

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Oh and to round up the part about Prague, here is an upside down Saint Wenceslaus:

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And before you go to Prague, do not forget to check this youtube channel full of tips and tricks!

Belgium

Coming to Belgium with CJ provided me with the opportunity to be a tourist in my own country. Apart from the beautiful landscapes and numerous activities that Loenhout has to offer, it was nice to just be back home and meet up with family and friends. I think I miss them more than before, as more time spent abroad passes. So seeing them makes me happy and I cherished the moments together.

IMG_6520 The fields of Loenhout.

IMG_6513 With the sinology crew and baby Moana!

IMG_20170723_160531_653 Reunion in Antwerp with Tahnee and Barbara

20170723_172000 ‘t Steen (the Stone) and Lange Wapper (“Long Wapper”)

We also went to Leuven, visiting the old alma mater, exploring the city (CJ has an unhealthy interest in begijnhoven), and of course, eating at De Werf.

IMG_5705 the Church and the City Hall in Leuven

20170720_132853 the Lions of Pauscollege

20170720_133658 Fonske, the Fons Sapientiae. Yet’s it’s a studious boy pouring beer in his brain.

IMG_5677 CJ de Kotmadam

20170720_150024 Faculty of Arts

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See this picture above? I thought they were dementors the first time I saw them. Okay, well, I was drunk on my first night in Leuven but man, those things are scary. And it gets even scarier if you know that the whole Faculty of Arts is built on an old church site. There must be some ghosts still dwelling there and I bet they have many conversations with these two statues. Yuck.

IMG_5693 Artes Library

IMG_5697 East Asian Library. I used to work here as a student.

20170720_212721_HDR Thanks for letting us crash at your place dr. Ruben!

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We also went to Brugge (Bruges, 布魯日), a city any serious tourist of Belgium cannot fail to neglect. It also has begijnhoven, old towers, is called the Venice of the North and is just old in general. But beautiful.

IMG_5719 water

20170721_115021 Casually performing eye surgery

20170721_120146 Her fingers leave the painting. It’s alive.

20170721_140552 This is a wordplay. “Show off your West-Flemish mug(ke)”. mokke is both a mug and a girl!

IMG_20170722_145454_465 CJ is the frietking of the friet museum and fries are Belgian.

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And finally, in Belgium, we have Gent (Ghent, 根特) where I finally went to visit my friend Cedric’s PhD office at the University of Ghent. Thanks for the tour of the city!

IMG_20170728_222532_043 Sint-Baafskathedraal

20170727_140619 ‘t Gravensteen

IMG_5840 Graffiti street

IMG_20170728_112313_470 Ordering coffee

IMG_5420 CJ drinking coffee (in Prague)

Yes! You made it! We did it!

Next up is a retelling of a modern British classic, that is to say, our trip to the UK. Hope to see you there!