Monday, September 19, 2005

Its festival time

17th September

We learnt today that it was 5 degrees yesterday. No wonder even the exchange students at the Crepe party yesterday said they felt cold! Anyways, I made my first trip to the Laundromat today. They charged me 3.3 euros for using a machine with 7kg volume. There was no one else at the Laundromat and I felt quite lost.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to open the damn door of the machine and finally put my clothes into the machine and then couldn’t figure out where the washing powder would go in. I then tried inserting the coins into the slot but they wouldn’t be accepted. Finally, a man walked in and I thought ‘Ah!! my saviour’, but he had never used the machines before either. He had atleast seen them being used before and so he told me that I had to put the money into another machine, which would give me tokens, which I would have to put in the washing machine.

I finally got the thing running and the clothes took about 20mins to wash. They were rather damp but I didn’t want to pay separately for a dryer so I just got them back to my room and dried them there!! We then went to the guys apartment and together cooked a sumptuous lunch of ready to eat pav bhaji, dal and pickle.

We then went to the station, determined to spend the rest of the day out of Brussels. We met some ULB students there who were going to a town called Namur for the festival there. Namur is in the Wallonia region of Belgium and it was celebrating its 175th anniversary with a 3 day festival.

We went by train. The stations here are just like the Indian stations, only a lot cleaner. The trains are also a lot like the short distance Jan Shatabdi Express or the A/C chair car in Ratnachal Express, though again, a lot cleaner and with wider seats and larger windows. We looked out at the Belgian countryside through the 1 hour journey and marveled at how it was not very different from an Indian train ride…..

Namur is a small place, but yesterday, it was full of people, sounds, smells and sights. It was just like the typical European festival we see in movies and pictures. There were people all over the streets, everyone singing and dancing, with faces painted, and wearing weird hats and masks. The streets were filled with stalls on either side selling food, drink, clothes, soft toys, jewellery and everything else under the sun. There were three different concerts taking place at the same time – rock, rap and blues (I think) so as you moved from one lane to the other, the crowd and music changed accordingly – the whole thing was a truly heady experience.

We went to the centuries old citadel of Namur. It is a lot like the Golconda Fort, with less of history – you walk a lot and there isn’t much to see except for a magnificent view. Well, we walked and waked and it got s cold as we walked further up that some of us took out our gloves. And there isn’t really much to see in the citadel – it is just like any other fort in India, only it has European architecture and grey stone. However, the view was truly magnificent – you could see the tiny, narrow river of Meuse running right in the middle of the town and the sloping red roofs of all the houses of the town and large green lands – it was very very scenic and very European.

Once we walked down the citadel, we wandered around the festive streets, checking out every stall without really buying anything, ate a little in as many stalls as we possibly could and generally wandered around the festive streets, taking in the atmosphere. We took a train back home early coz we were all cold.


Aravind said...

u havent mentioned anything about the pic that u have put there? what place is that? is that the festival site?

Ramya said...

hey aravind,

that is a monument in Brussels. Nothing related to the festival. Still need to upload those snaps.

Anonymous said...

wow...amazing picture..exactly wot i wanted to see..silly fool put in some pictuers whr i cud see ppl or atleast some belgian chicks .. btw u neva posted any comments abt chicks in belgum..pls do na

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