During the summer of 2009 my mother, sister, and I went on a trip to Belgium to visit our family. The flight there was hectic, as flights over eight hours usually are, but nothing can beat the excitement of arriving in Belgium. There to greet us were my aunt and grandmother (Oma). As usual, we all stayed at my Oma and Opa’s house, since they are always kind enough to put us up for the few weeks we spend there. Typically when we go to Belgium, we just hang around the neighborhood of Wetteren where they live, however I wanted to do some sight-seeing this time. Towards the end of our trip we visited Oostende and Bruges.
In Oostende we drove to the beach. There were many families visiting from around Belgium as well. The Oostende port was very busy with people dining on fine cuisine, walking with friends or family, or visiting the fish market among other shops. As a matter of fact, we all went to the open-air seafood market as well. Lining the bazaar’s many shelves and stalls were freshly caught fish, right from the North Sea. There were also vendors dispersed around the streets and at one of these stalls we were able to eat a small sample of North Sea Shrimp. From this experience I learned that despite the world’s growing economy, people still depend on rural methods in many places in the world.
As for Bruges, there was a lot to see in the limited time we had to spend there. One of the more outstanding areas in Bruges we visited was The Basilica of the Holy Blood. Visiting the Basilica was important, seeing as though it is home to a relic of the holy blood. In fact, we were fortunate enough to have seen the relic, albeit from a distance. There was a queue of worshippers lined up to receive a blessing at the altar and donate to the Basilica’s funds as well. To see so many devout and pious believers all in one place was rather inspiring, and taught me that there are still things in the world that can bring people together, despite differences in race and background.
Going to both of these tourist-centric areas brought about a whole new perspective to me. Habitually, when I contemplated visiting Belgium I would only think of the same routine we always went through: Staying at my Oma’s house, taking occasional walks in the fields, visiting relatives’ houses, and shopping at the bargain store, Blokker. However after this experience, instead of the aforementioned perception, I now can see Belgium in a new light, and I plan to do some more sightseeing in the future.
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