Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: dutch

Dada and the oldest Dutch city

This post is for dada!

The trip to Nijmegen (pronounced “nigh-meh-hem”) was successfully carried out. It’s been more than six months since dada’s departure from Bordeaux, embarking on his next journey in his academic endeavors in the Netherlands. Dada, otherwise known as Dr.Das, has courteously agreed to be the city guide for the day as he is now more or less “local”. How nice it is to finally have a reunion!

With more than 2000 years of history, Nijmegen claims to be the oldest city in the Netherlands, although apparently Maastricht also claims the title. Well, my concern wasn’t really to find out which is older; that is quite irrelevant. That is nothing compared to seeing an old friend 😉

Annie and dada (along with Yi-Shiang and his family) had lunch at an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant in the Nijmegen city centre. It was my first time having all-you-can-eat Japanese food in Europe, and apparently it was dada’s first time having Japanese food. Oh silly dada, inventing his own way of holding the chopstick every single time he attempts it. When will you learn?

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Belgium, day 0.5

Okay, I admit the previous post was somewhat half-assed. I was way too tired to write detailed captions for my photos, and really, how much could you write about lab equipment?

So now, I am in Belgium, Louvain-la-Neuve, to be precise. That was fast, huh? After approximately 6 hours of travelling, I entered the mysterious land of the Belgians. The course of the journey was as follows: Bordeaux to Lyon by plane, Lyon to Brussels by plane, Brussels to Louvain-la-Neuve by train with one transfer. Lots of moving around, so I am sufficiently exhausted. I arrived at 19:30, so it was already dark and I hadn’t had the chance to explore yet. That will have to wait till tomorrow morning.

Well, first impression? Of Belgium in general (which only consists of Brussels and Louvain-la-Neuve at the moment), it’s more “modern” than Bordeaux. The reason I put the word in quotations is because it may very well be a false impression, either because I haven’t seen enough of Belgium yet, or modern Bordeaux eludes me.

The Brussels airport was pretty huge and I liked it. One thing I noticed was that while people in France dress as if they’re all in a fashion show, the people in Belgium – at least the ones at the airport – tend to dress on the professional side. I felt that I was in the midst of a gigantic conference where everyone was in suits or something formal. It makes sense, because Brussels is a location with quite big of an international influence, being the headquarters of EU and all, and I liked that.

One new thing I have to get used to is everything being in Dutch as well as French. In fact, announcements come in Dutch first, then French. I even got redirected to Dutch Google. Great. Still, I’m glad I’m in the French region of Belgium. I’m not sure if I’m ready to tackle a new language.

As for Louvain-la-Neuve, boy, is it lively! The students are quite the enthusiastic bunch and even if the place is small, it doesn’t seem like it lacks activity, being a student town. Exploring this place will be fun, and I’ll have to find all the nice places to eat and shop, though everything is so close together that I can probably see the whole city in an hour.

In terms of accommodation, I’m living “chez habitant”, which is something close to a host family. My room consists of an upper level with a bed and a desk, and a lower level with a dining table and a small kitchen. Very nice and well-equipped – I’m impressed! The best part is not having to pay for it…score 😀 Seems like this is gonna be a joyful little hut for the next few months. Let’s see what we have.

Top-down view of the “living room”. Where I’m standing, the desk is to my right, the bed is behind me, and the stairs are to my left. My luggage is a mess now so I’ll have to unpack, unless I want to rummage through my luggage every day for the next while.

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