Sep 2, 2016

Day 3, Ghent - The Hipster Sleepy Hollow of Belgium

Have you ever watched a movie set in 18th century, little sun shining over the town, but clouds looming at large, hinting at rainy evening ? The bell tolls, women and children going towards home and men head to town bar. A castle in the backdrop, sound of horse carriage on the cobbled streets and mist starts to gather. Ever wished to visit this old town? Then put Ghent (or Gent) on your list - misty, charming and undiscovered.

40 minute ride from Brussels Midi to Gent St Pieters station for 11-12 euros and you get transported to a town with old historical buildings but strong student population. That's why I call it the Hipster Sleepy Hollow of Belgium.

Beauty lies in old secrets

Start walking and discover me

The first thing you notice is less tourists, so many young students, hidden graffiti peeking out sometimes and spires of old era. The weather was bit grey as it was cloudy, drizzling in between but we thoroughly enjoyed it. While asking around, we met this really helpful student at the station, who directed us to the Gravensteen Castle and boarded the same bus with.  He did not recommend the castle much but understood our touristy excitement. Haha. Well who leaves a middle ages castle on their first Europe holiday.

Gravensteen Castle (Caste of the Counts)

What you cannot miss is the design and Dutch architecture on every corner and door. Stepped gable house facades and the warm palette of red, brown, orange mixed with charcoal and grey.

Those doors and bicycles, so European

Beguinage, Ghent
 We took a bus near Beguinage to city center and then covered everything around by walk. Don't we just love those town where you can do that. Walk, ponder, chill at a cafe, repeat.

Those canals, they just flow

Belfort, Ghent

St. Bavo's Cathedral

Modern architecture blended into old times

City Hall or Stadhuis
Ghent was one day trip for us and I feel it was a good decision to drop Antwerp and visit this gem. I looked through my folder and after Paris, the best photos were taken here. Shops started closing around 5pm and then you see a lot of young crowd going back to there places. Eateries remain open though. In a day walking along the medieval streets, we were able to see the houses, tapestry and handicrafts in shops, ate lunch at random cafe and bought Speculoos. It became quite rainy around 7pm, we were leaving but had seen the secret of Belgium. Happy souls :)

Adieu Gent, until we meet again :)

Aug 13, 2016

Day 2: Paris in a day, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Pont Neuf lovelocks, fastest plan ever made

OK, so the weather update for next two days in Brussels was rainy.  Paris was to be sunny and only 2 hours away from us. The very first evening in hotel, I checked up on the high speed trains to Paris and booked our Thalys tickets in half sleep. Day 2 morning, the first time Europe travelers were ready for Paris :)

Grab awesome breakfast from the shops at station and enjoy the super fast ride munching and talking. Do not try to absorb landscape outside the train as the speed is zipping. You just can't see still. So bring your entertainment.

Louvre Museum

River Seine

Notre Dame De Paris

Looking over us, Blessing

Faith is your own space

Quiche, our regular Brussels dinner ;)
We came back to Brussels at night, rested and had our meal at the regular joint. Just 2 days in we called Cafe Bebo our regular, that is how friendly and familiar, the place made us feel. All the days we were in Brussels, made sure to eat dinner there. Its the most amazing place after long day to chill. Extensive menu on drinks, food is minimal but you know the feeling to come back somewhere again and again. Cafe Bebo was that.

Keep reading next post for real Belgium starts there ! 

Hello Belgium: Day 1, Brussels, Comic Strip Walk

IF there is a class of bloggers, then find me seated on the back benches. I travel, collect photos in a folder and write about it an year later. Well, never too late. Somehow we always wanted to start our first Europe travel with Austria but best flight prices made us zero on Belgium. Secretly the proximity to Paris was something I was excited about.

Belgium is like the middle sibling among West European countries, does not get attention, does not crave any; but once you open up to it, voila, found your confidante. We reached Brussels Midi via Amsterdam airport. Our hotel right in front of the train station. Since there was still sometime to check-in, we logged in our luggage and started wandering about. It was drizzling, were ready with umbrellas for the late September weather.

We started from Saint Gilles and walked till Palais de Justice. You can see the comic strip along the streets. Being a cartoon fan, my excitement knew no bounds to see the wall art. This came as a nice surprise.

Palaise De Justice, Brussels

Grand Place / Grote Markt

Grand Place / Grote Markt

In evening, we set out on foot again to have an early dinner and catch the vibrance at Grand Place main square. Read Day 2 post for the fastest and the best plan a traveler can ever make if in Brussels.

Oct 16, 2015

Chanel Rouge Coco Etienne #446 review

I have been planning to get my hands on Chanel Rivoli lipstick for quite sometime but its been discontinued recently. Chanel reinvented their Rouge Coco line with new formula and vibrant colors. While surfing through the makeup at Bloomingdales, I came across Etienne which seemed close to Rivoli as that was a deep red too.

Its a burgundy red with certain brightness and sheen, has brown undertones. However Etienne looks very intense in tube but not so much on the lips. The finish is semi opaque but you can build it without any heaviness. The color is visible even on pigmented lips with full coverage.

Rouge Coco Etienne is a moisturising lipstick with a stay of 4-5 hours and leaves a stain after eating / drinking. The textture of lips actually feels improved after application. The package is classy Chanel with black and gold rim in middle.

Recommendation - Chanel Rouge Coco Etienne is perfect for mature woman who is confident to carry off bold deep colors. It goes nicely with heavy eye makeup and woody scent.