Tuesday, 3 July 2012

belgium: a lesson in things working out

On the weekend we went to Belgium for Rock Werchter festival. Given how long ago we'd booked, how little research we'd done and the fact that at the eleventh hour, Kirsty had to pull out of the whole trip because of work (lame), my expectations for Belgium were pretty low. Instead, it turned into the greatest series of awesome events in a very short period of time. Belgium, i'm impressed with you.
These are the faces of girls who are impressed with Belguim.
As soon as we stepped off the Eurostar, Belgium started delivering: we chatted to a man on the street who told us the Tour de France was starting on Saturday a few miles away (guess that explained the buck's party with the husband-to-be dressed in lycra and a bike helmet... well, i hope it does.)
Gosh! the Tour! my mum would be so impressed.
Given our 'eh' attitude to the weekend, we all seemed pretty kewl to leave Brussels in the morning and head to Liege where we walked down a cute street to come face to face with Cadel doing his warm up routine.

oh hai Cadel, look at you without a helmet. scandalous-o.

We wandered around, saw (what i assume were) biking celebrities, die-hard fans (including a fantastic old man who did a great 'aussie aussie aussi oi oi oi' at Cadel which no one joined in for. oh.)
After the Tour kicked off and alex had found a hat, we jumped back on the train where a bizarre old Flemish man dressed in a fabulous suit offered us cheese (and, potentially, offered louise a life of love and escargots for dinner...) and the ticket conductor appeared to be greatful we'd even got onto his train and simply said some flemish words at us, looked happy, waved his hands, and went away.
It appears that train travel is free in Belgium.
This. is the man who 'aussi aussi aussi-ed' he was rad.
there were lots of people doing lots of tricky-looking things with bikes at the tour.
Alex awkwardly kept talking about how easy it would be to tamper with another teams' bikes.
She's such a liability.

At Rock Werchter, everyone was showing the signs of camping for the past 3 days in a dusty field. As the cleanest, least sunburnt people in the field, we sort of floated around being clean, eating frites, drinking beers and lovin' on belgium. We found Dom and Dave (impressively for campers, in ironed shirts) then we found a delightful man named Josh who was trampsing his way around the festival offering unsuspecting women (and Dom) the opportunity to sit on his shoulders for 2mins, for a drink token. We were taken with his entrepenurial spirit (and his envy-inducing tan) and he joined our gang (after we'd paid him a drink token to lift alex up in the air. pimps)
Blink 182 you evade me again. gah.

Even with ripped off sleeves, the fact still remains: it was ironed.

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i know, €2.50 does seem a lot to sit on someone's shoulders...
but TOTALLY worth it!
Poor Dave didn't have a spare drink token, so couldn't experience the joy that the random man in the orange shorts felt high on Josh's shoulders. Sad Dave.
At about 11pm we needed to leave to make the last train back to Brussels. Fuelled by our good fortune this far, as well as the fact it was so warm and delightful, we threw caution into the wind and decided to stay in the dusty field and wing the trip back to Brussels later. (Note: the trip back to Brussels is 30km...) yay! Then Josh let us all go on his shoulders again, for free, so no one was going anywhere. yay!
Luckily we stayed: there were fireworks, a mad rendition of 'killing in the name of' by Chase & Status, more shoulders to sit on, and this. sweet.

cool kids DO say yes.
Even Ryan got a go! Ryan was so popular, it wouldn't surprise me if this dude paid him a drink token to let him sit up there.
At 3am we were sitting on a curb eating frites on the edge of a field in the middle of nowhere, but we had faith in Belgium and its ability to deliver. It did. A cab came, we threw a hundred euros at the situation (euros? who needs 'em!?) and spent 40mins listening to a delightful cab driver play Australian music to us. win.
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3am frites? keep them coming please.
The next day we caught the train (again, free!!) to Bruges for lunch. We're pretty fancy like that, travelling to new cities for each meal... it's how we roll in Belgium. Bruges was pretty and lovey. We ate chocolate strawberries, drank local beer, saw the main sites (from the back of a cab) then caught the train back to London. Fancy ladies indeed.

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Mussels in Brussels! (lies. it was Bruges. oh)

This is the square where the christmas markets are held. fun.
Belgium, you are a bit of orright, and i will have some frites in your honour xoxo

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