Sunday, 10 July 2011

Belguim; Blowing my mind!

So last week saw a Sugar Paper holiday as Kandy and I headed to Belgium for fun, music, waffles and chocolate. It went a little like this.....

We set off on Thursday afternoon to Liverpool airport, after browsing Claire's in Manchester we managed to waste another half hour browsing it in the airport, plane delayed, tea drunk. Flight boarded. the flight was super short, quicker then what it takes me to get to work, into that!
we managed to get ourselves to the train station (thanks to Kandy's French skills, which came in handy all weekend!) and use our free train pass!
Then after confusing Google directions we found our hotel in Leuven, just 2 minutes walk form the train station, yes!
I would recommend the Etap hotel (it's a chain) the room was clean (possibly unused as it was so new) yeah it was a building site outside but I didn't come for scenic stay. No bin or set of drawers in the room though!
Wandered around Leuven before deciding on eating pizza for tea, holiday food! Heading back and getting shut eye for early rise!

Friday! Early rise, wash and decided we will have breakfast in the hotel, pocket some bread, cheese and brioche for lunch and head for the first bus to Werchter at 9. Again just round the corner form the hotel. A few others are heading early (to set up camp I think) a Hen do, decked in pink, listening to Alexandra Burke on their phone, hmmm...

Bus is a nice scenic route and in no time at all we reach our destination ROCK WERCHTER! Walking to the entrance I get a little excited, trip to the portaloo dulls that somewhat but then we wait with the other 16 people waiting early (I'd say 90% of those are MCR fans.)
An hour and half later the gates are about to open when we get told (a queue of all females) we can't queue at this gate as there isn't a female security guard to check our bags and what not as we enter, we're fuming. Belgium's answer to Tank Girl argues our case in Dutch, who then translate to English for us to which Kandy translates to french to some young MCR fans waiting on the queue, we all get mad, swear in our respective languages and reluctantly move queue. Some nice MCR fans in the queue next to us let us in, knowing we have been there FOREVER!

Then we're in, then we wait again to get into the 'stage arena' I must say (aside form the debacle at the gate) the festival is very well organised, I wondered why everyone was walking round in flip flops and not wellies, it's because the stage area is fully floored and with little sections. We finally get in and Kandy secures us a place front row!
Lot's of waiting. A mini downpour, then the sun comes out, we don't have sunglasses, ah well. Mona come on, they're a bit rubbish, made worse by the 'I am a rock star I am god' attitude form the singer. they come out later to let girls screech at them SIGN MY ARM SIGN MY ARM. they leave i get nervous.
I asked Kandy if she is ready to have her life saved (first time seeing MCR) when security hand her an apple, we are super thirsty, her life already just got saved.
Finally, MCR take to the stage. Kandy seems more excited then me, i think I'm still in disbelief. I'm in a foreign country, in a field in broad daylight and MCR are on stage! I'm not going to go on for aaaages because anyone who knows me in real life gets enough of that.
I obviously thought it was amazing. starting off with Na Na Na and kicking straight into Vampire Money and Planetary (surefire way to get a stitch!), House Of Wolves is the only other non single track. The set closes with I'm not Okay with a few others in between. The set seemed so short, like I actually did blink and it was over! I would say it lacked the atmosphere of a usual MCR gig. So it was early, they were the second band on and aside form the first two rows, this crowd wasn't Killjoys. Also the audience were so reserved, no shouting, throwing stuff and when the kids threw their fists in the air, they were half hearted, I mean I wanna see your arm come out the socket. I think despite enjoying the space we had, I missed the crush, a sense of urgency lacked. Highlights were the 90s jam thing they did after Mama, Gerard's wolf howls, Franks screeching, pretty much all of it!

Then it was over, we tried to find the other stage, urinated and got some food. The food all looked sooooo good. Fancy salads and all. We settled on a juicy smoothie, mini spring rolls and possibly THEE BEST waffle I've ever had, I can taste it now, yum.
After a sit and eat we tried to edge our way in the tent ready for Jimmy Eat World. the tent is packed, apparently Ke$ha is big in Belgium. We watch the last few songs. I'm not a Ke$ha fan, but I'll give it to her, she had routines, ribbon dancers, glitter and confetti guns! PARTAY!!
It ends and we edge forward for JEW, excitement take two. It's the first time we have both seen JEW.

They kick off with Bleed American and A Praise Chorus, with hits in between as well as new songs. I'm really glad to see JEW look and make songs the same as they always have done and they look super happy to be there (I love nice guys in rock!). We have so much space to dance and there seems to be a bit more of humph then for MCR, but this is party tent! We manage to recover form the first two songs just in time to get Pain and then two big hits at the end, Sweetness and The Middle of course. I bloody love that song. Then it's all over, again.
We browse the merch stalls before deciding to leave, we've seen what we came to see, we're sunburnt and people were getting drunk enough to be annoying, time to go.

We treat our sens to an ice cream for the walk back to the bus, ignore some drunk asking if we're Australian, he asks why are we shy, we reply we're not, we just don't want to talk to you. he says we're fucking ugly. My pistachio ice cream is well good though.
Super tired from a day in the sun, we get some snacks and cider (lychee flavour) form the supermarket, head to hotel lie in bed, eat drink and watch music TV, fall asleep midway through Wedding Crashers at around half ten, ROCK AND ROLL!
our early night is greeted with a semi late morning, we worry we might miss breakfast so put some clothes on and try not to look like we have just woken up. Steal ourselves some lunch, get dressed and board a train to Brussels.
Accidentally get local stopping, but the views nice!
We hadn't really planned to do anything other then go to the festival, too busy for that, i found a chocolate museum so that was about it. Lucky for us the magazine on the plane had a feature on world famous Brussels Flea Market, open 7 days a week. Takes us a while to locate the tourist information office, but once we have a map and directions we head for the flea market. Passing all the tourists spots on the way, including the very popular pissing cherub thing, BRUSSELS WHAT IS THAT! it's bloody tiny too, we dodge the tourists and keep going.
get to the flea market a little late, they are packing up but bag myself a rate good novelty bag, Kandy barters in French and 4 euros later it's mine, it's filthy and needs a good clean up but still. We browse the vintage shops, i see the world best shoes made for the worlds smallest feet, I stare at them for a while in hope the go from a size three to a six, it doesn't happen so we leave.
We head back to the centre visiting every tat shop on the way (there are a lot!). We get real fussy as we don't want any tat with the pissing cherub on, but this is hard, 400 tat shops later we settle on a snow globe each.
Wander around a bit more, find the best shop in Brussels, a sweet shop that is a lot like that shop them there Weasely twins have in that Potter business!

Suddenly realise we haven't eaten a waffle yet (today) so treat ourselves to a sit down, tea and waffle, I go for the caramel topping, Kandy the chocolate (obvs).
Head up to the art district to see if galleries open on Sunday, realise Brussels is pretty huge, wander though a park, and watch some people do ballroom dancing on a band stand. My hay fever goes crazy so we head back to the hotel. Freshen up and time for proper tea out. We noticed a cute looking bar with a south American menu, and it's painted pink so we head there. Not before passing people dancing salsa in the square (is it dance Saturday?!).

Our tea was soooooo good. Picked from menus with Frida Kahlo on the front, cocktails and burritos, yes! WE have two cocktails, get a bit giddy and are officially stuffed, time to go back, watch music TV and sleep.

Kandy takes a brioche from breakfast, for old times sake, even though we know we're getting chips for dinner. manage to get the quicker train to Brussels. Today is the day we get cultured.
First stop, Musee Rene Magritte. Kandy blags her student card so it's pretty cheap to get in.
The whole thing was so good, I would recommend anyone going to Brussels to see it, four floors of visual delight. We try to sit and watch the film, but our mouths are too dry. The gift shop is a total winner, one whole wall of postcard, YES! and novelty pens, we get the pen that looks like a pencil, I decide not to get the pen that looks like a tube of paint, instant regret that! We pass on the comic strip museum as funds are low. Get some chips after seeing them EVERYWHERE all weekend. they are super tasty. Then we head to the chocolate museum where Kandy makes herself feel sick.
I eat 70% and realise it's like drinking neat brandy, cannot handle that, shove a loud of milk chocolate in to feel better. Watch a demonstration on chocolate making, which Kandy refers to as porn (she loves the chocolate). We eat a few more samples, free stuff yeah, I rub a blob of cocoa butter on my lips and we leave.
Wander around a bit more and go on a mission to find C&A. We locate it, its super busy and rubbish. Clock house is like a naff Peacocks now, all my 90s teen dreams shattered, SCREW YOU C&A!
After the disappointment of C&A we decide to go and get our plane home.
There's a diner in the airport but we can't afford anything, no matter how hard we try just for photo opportunities.
Kandy tries out the ladies urinal.We try to buy something to eat with 2 euros, we struggle and decide to save it for a brew on the plane.
No delays this time, we get back, eat a subway, get the coach and we're back in Manchester.
Had a lovely time in Belgium, only downside was my phone turning Dutch (and then not turning on) when we got back and having to buy a new one.
Big thanks to Kandy for coming when I said I would just go alone, her French, space saving and general rad company was a life saver, just like that apple (and MCR).

picture to sum up the trip.....

1 comment:

Claire said...

Sounds like you had a brill time!!! I love it when you tell of yr fun adventures xxx