(Read Part 1 here!) In Part 1 I mentioned that I moved to Belgium to work on a placement year as part of my degree - I got a placement at the Kipling handbag brand within VF Corporation's Europe Head quarters. I think if you want to work and live in another country permanently you should always learn the native language/s, but in this case almost everyone I encountered spoke English and the company was highly multicultural - we had British/Spanish/American/French and Italian people as colleagues in VF along with Dutch speaking people from the Netherlands and French Belgian Nationals, making English the commonly spoken language throughout the company.
I've decided to split my experience of living and working overseas into a series of posts, as there are so many aspects to cover! I'll be covering many aspects of my year of working and living in Belgium, from working there to travelling and everything in between. I have plans to travel throughout 2017 so will be posting about present travelling too, but I really want to share my year of living in another country and I hope you enjoy my posts reflecting on the past as well as present!
This post will cover my initial move to Belgium -
Packing for winter can seem daunting especially considering the things you need tend to be thick, heavy clothing. The trick is very simple - only pack what you truly need! This is the time of the year where you should probably be the strictest with your packing, usually for summer you can pack much more with thinner clothes and bikinis.
Thanks to the gloomy winter weather here in England, I've been shut in the house most days which means you end up watching a lot more TV than usual... and with a couple of trips booked ready for Spring I've been dying to travel! It's made me realize that there are so many films that inspire wanderlust for their audience, so here's a short list of my faves:
Roman Holiday (1953)
An oldie but a goodie, continuing with my princess theme Audrey Hepburn places an escaped Princess running away from her royal duties to smooch around Rome with an American Journalist - did I mention I've been to Rome recently? Well just in case you haven't been bombarded with my 100 posts on Instagram about it here's a link to the blog post I wrote about the trip so you can be an escaped Prince/ss too!
Ghent is a beautiful city that lies right in the middle of Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels and borrows aspects from each of these cities - shops, restaurants and galleries with rivers and bridges woven in between, the old and the new come together to make a unique city home to students and visitors looking for modern and traditional ventures.
Merry Christmas! I thought I'd post a little throwback today - a couple of years ago we went to Disneyland Paris for early December and stayed at the Hotel Cheyenne (the cowboy themed resort) and had an amazing time! To be honest it was so long ago I can't really talk much about our trip (other than try and get indoors where possible, bring an umbrella and try not to smash any glass roses in the Sleeping Beauty castle shop like Jake did...)
After all the browsing we did on the second day, we planned to buy tickets for visits to the Colosseum along with Palazzo Dei Conservatori and the Roman Forum. Rome is easily accessible on foot to many landmarks, but the saying 'Rome wasn't built in a day' also applies to the length of time you need to explore it - despite having 3 full days of visiting we still didn't get time to see many things including the Vatican City (something for the next trip!).
The first day we arrived we were exhausted - packing and a late bath at midnight, waking up three hours later to go to the airport, a slightly delayed (although admittedly pleasant) flight and we wanted our beds. But arriving to our beautiful AirBnb certainly perked us up (Read the full post about our stay here) and I'm sure many travellers have experienced that mixed feeling of excitement and tiredness when arriving in a new place!
On our recent trip to Rome (blog post coming soon!) we stayed in an Air Bnb for the first time - making it three firsts for me (the other two being visiting Italy and visiting Rome) and I have to dedicate a whole blog post to this room as we had an incredible stay!
We were very lucky to find this room - after booking our flights we browsed through the Air Bnb website and went through bookmarking our favourites - the great thing about Air Bnb is that it shows a map and description of the local area to the room. Eventually we deduced it down to Room with a view 105 and were really excited to book it - we read the 5 star reviews which spoke of the hosts amazing hospitality, the beautiful room and how they enjoyed the experience. We were also sold on it's location - it is 10 mins walk to the Colosseum! Normally the room is booked regularly so we jumped to our chance, and the host Federica replied to our request immediately so we were set!
We hadn't really heard about Santorini before booking a week long stay, but a family wedding brought us to this beautiful Greek island (and we're very glad it did!). I guess we would have probably ended up putting it on the list of places to go, especially as it felt like the second we booked everything (in April, flying in September) I saw countless posts of travel bloggers and friends holidaying there, it's safe to say the excitement building up to the trip made me think "Why had we never thought of going here before?"