Monday, October 22, 2012

that time I spoke flemish

I had the coolest experience of meeting up with my friend, Amanda, during my time in Europe. Now, this is a big deal.

back story: When we were just younglings of 14 years or so, we made this list of all the countries we were going to visit together and why we were going to go to each. With me spending copious amounts of time in the UK and with her studies in Paris, we decided to make girlhood dreams come true and meet in Brussels for waffles and chocolate. I'll post another post to show you pictures of waffles and chocolate and peeing boys, but for right now, I thought I would tell you things in Flemish!

(Or not, I just went onto Google translate to say something witty and Flemish here but apparently it's not an option.)

So near the end of our trip, Amanda and I decided that we should go to Ypres. Not only is it of great historical value, but little towns in Belgium happen to be adorable. So we packed up our things and went straight to the train station, chatting about life and boys, just like when we were younger! And in doing so, we completely missed our train.

But I was well-prepared. I am that person who googles everything, regardless of whether it will do me good or harm. So I had a map of Western Belgium on my iphone. The tricky part here is that my map is in English, while all of the signs are in French/Flemish.

Amanda speaks French, so obviously it was on me to figure out the Flemish translations. (My method here was to say everything out loud and hope that it would sound like something in English.) My map told me we needed to go to Ghent and change trains.

Now, no trains were going to Ghent, but one was going to Genk, which sounds like Ghent and thus is the clear translation.

Somehow it hadn't occurred to me that perhaps no trains were actually going to Ghent.

So off to Genk/Ghent we went!

Did you know that Genk is not even in the same area of Belgium as Ghent? The ticket collectors came around about 90 minutes into our journey and, after some muffled laughing, they gave us return tickets for free and kicked us off the train.

So here we were in Tienen, without any wifi and no knowledge of where we were. We could have literally been ANYWHERE in Belgium and had no idea.


apple maps' version of Genk - Ghent. Keep in mind that the trains take a weird way of getting everywhere.

The purple pin is where we ended up, in Tienen. Another half hour and we would have made it to the Netherlands.. If we had had wifi...

After a beautiful though very long train trip, we did indeed end up in Ypres where we saw memorials and ate proper chocolates and took pictures.


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