Wednesday, 3 May 2017
An afternoon in Ghent with my friends Claire and Lora
As our friend Claire lives in Ghent, and Ghent is a fun town, Lora and I decided to go there for a change (generally we go to Antwerp).
Sadly, it was the weekend of NMBS hell (you can read more about this here), so we arrived with a delay.
Claire, who studies in Brussels and is thus used to the NMBS's antics in and around the capital (which are apparently extra dire in that area) didn't have to wait long for us, because she knew we'd be late so had left her house late.
Basically we all pretty much arrived at the same time :).
We walked to the city center, because Claire had her bike with her (as there was more parking space for it near the center of town) and well, why take a super full tram when you can walk. It's not that far a walk anyway.
I was pretty famished by the time we got to the center of town, and whilst Ghent is a pretty big city, it's kinda hard to find a place to eat where you can sit. The Panos shops are all far too small for the amount of people in Ghent, a lot of places are really expensive, and Exki once again only had things I can't eat due to allergies.
THANKFULLY, bakery PAUL is just at the edge of the center, so most people don't end up there for food. That meant that it wasn't crowded at all, there was still plenty to choose from and especially: tons of room to sit. Much approved. The food there is really good too, a little pricier than Panos, but generally healthier too, so that's fine (it's still not that expensive). I had a ham sandwich, but I also bought a bretzel and a big olive breadstick (benoîtons for the win!) to go, because I knew that I'd likely be home pretty late and wanted to avoid starvation.
PAUL is also right around the corner from the shops we wanted to visit.
First up was Yves Rocher, because Claire had collected enough points on her card for a free product of choice. She went with a nice foundation. Lora and I swatched a lot of stuff, and I discovered that the new bronzer is the same colour as Too Faced's Milk Chocolate Soleil. So I'm going to ask the girls from the local shop about how well it works if you don't wear foundation. I once had a blush from them that I ended up giving to Tiny because it would NOT stick without foundation under it, so I want to know whether or not they stopped that kind of stupid before I spend money on their bronzer.
We skipped NYX, because none of us needed anything from there and not going in is avoiding temptation. Mind you, the quality of most NYX products is so shit, I'm kind of fed up with the brand.
Primark, however, was a shop we did want to visit.
Because Claire and I were looking for tops, and I wanted to check whether they had Adventure Time stuff for Bert.
They didn't have either (well they had tops, just not the ones I wanted), but Lora did find a BMO t-shirt for herself. Apparently they did have those, PJ trousers and the softest BMO robes (which were on sale) in existence. Sadly, they were all a size M, so I didn't get one for Bert. I did check to see if they had something else he'd like, but no luck. All I ended up getting was a set of 5 little cream jars for travel, because they are practical and it was only €1,50.
Primark, sadly, was absolute HELL. It wasn't just that it was crowded, that would have been fine, if it hadn't been for all the people that were so incredibly RUDE. We, and a lot of others too, got shoved all the time, because a certain type of shopper there felt the need to just push people instead of just asking people to step aside, or move a little so they could see too. I was also pretty glad I was wearing my Palladiums, which are both high and sturdy, because I got rammed in the ankles at least 4 times by some cow with a stroller. Here's the thing people: strollers should be used to move your offspring about, they are NOT battering rams!
Anyway, ranting aside, Primark had some fun things, like Rugrats and Powerpuff Girls bags (nostalgia!), but I resisted because I didn't need any.
Claire had a pretty hard time resisting the Rugrats stuff too.
It took us far longer than it should have to get through the store and pay, thanks to rude jerks everywhere and once we got out, Lora's bf Tom decided that he did want the Pikachu kigu they had that she had texted him about. So she had to go back to get it whilst Claire and I went into Holland and Barrett, which was, THANK GOD, a lot less crowded. In fact, it wasn't crowded at all, huzzah! I didn't get anything there, but Claire did, and we were just about ready there when Lora came out of Primark, looking haunted like someone that had just been through a very traumatic experience.
Yes, Primark was that bad, I don't think I'll ever go back into that Primark on a Saturday.
Because we were all parched, we went to Starbucks.
Seeing that the road was full of slooooooooooooooow people, a lot of them with dreaded strollers, we decided to make a small detour via quiet side streets. Which was an EXCELLENT choice. I'm telling you, never have I ever been this happy to have a big glass of Cool Lime in my hands.
Random photos must happen. It's mandatory.
Having been refreshed, we went to ICI PARIS XL, because I wanted to check ingredients of some products.
And after that we walked to M.A.C, because I wanted to see what shade of brow sculpt was the shade I needed to get.
Turns out that Cork is the exact same shade of my hair.
Never thought I'd see the day a company came up with that shade.
I'm actually surprised at my surprise over the fact that M.A.C did, because if anyone was going to, it surely would be M.A.C.
Claire and I also tried the new Next to Nothing liquid thingamajig, which was surprisingly exactly my skin tone (M.A.C, you are on a roll).
I didn't buy it though, because I wanted to see how my skin would react to it. And also, I don't think that the little sponges you can use in the store was the right way to apply it with, so I want to get some more info in the store first.
It's not a foundation in any case, it's a kind of tinted moisturiser that equalises the skin. Which I find very interesting.
I wouldn't use it on a daily basis, but if I was out and about a whole day, I wouldn't mind a product like that.
If it turns out I'll need to use a powder etc etc etc to get it to work properly, I will give it a miss. But if it works on its own, I will seriously consider it.
On the way back to the station I noticed AVA, and as Tom had asked Lora to bring back burgundy felt if she happened to pass by a store that carried it, we went in there to get that.
Also on the way back, we went onto the square in front of the Court of Law, because they have gorgeous doors.
You're allowed to go on (just not by car), but no one seemed to do so, so we had plenty of room to take photos.
Sadly, I hadn't brought my DSLR so we had to make do with the compact, which is of a far lesser quality.
But hey, at least we had fun taking pictures.
Some photos Claire took of me.
I suck at making selfies (note how I do this blindly, I don't have a camera with a selfie setting), but that doesn't matter :).
The rest of the way to the station was pretty uneventful.
Some guy tried to shout insults at us, but failed miserably because I didn't even notice him and Claire and Lora didn't understand what he was saying at all.
So basically we spent quite a bit of time laughing at his stupidity. A lot.
That aside: don't shout abuse at people in the street folks, it's not clever nor cool.
The train back was luckily a lot less drama than the train to Ghent.
But it did take far more effort than it should have to get the correct train info from the NMBS people (more about that in this post).
You'd think that the NMBS would train their people to be efficient and not be sexist jerks, but alas, no dice.
In all fairness, some people working there are efficient and super friendly, they're just few and far between. Very few, and very far between.
We still had a lot of time in Louvain before our connections, so we flopped down on some stairs where we weren't in anyone's way and just hung out 'till it was time to go to our platforms (our trains are literally one minute apart so we always have quite a bit of time to hang out).
I will say, even though I had an amazing time with my friends and it was a great day, I was glad to be home after all the train misery of the day.
I do look forward a lot to the next time we get to hang out though! :)