June 16, 2014   

Belgium is unreal. I've been in Gent for two days now and I love it here.

Belgium is the first country I've ever visited that completely just 'gets it'. They don't have tons of health and safety bullshit, but nobody is stupid - they seem to favour individual liberty and trust people to not be stupid.

The people are friendly and welcoming, their country appears like it's being taken care of by a government that actually cares, there is greenery everywhere, a scandinavian-esque kind of style set against a backdrop of illustrious castles and cathedrals.

For example, yesterday I was walking down the street and there were some workers installing some kind of poster or something on a high wall with a small cherry-picker. In Australia we would have seven guys in high visibility vests, 6 red barricades, the street would be closed and there would be two warning signs so you are still safe (and they aren't liable) if you miss the first. Was there any of that here? Nope. Everyone made their way past it, nobody walked close enough to put themselves in danger and parents kept their children from playing with anything they shouldn't.

The other thing which surprised me is that trams run on the road alongside cars and everyone shares the same space (even bicycles). No cyclists seem phased by the trams, they just keep out of the way and get on with their business. If they are in the way, the tram driver has a dinky little bell she can ring at you if you are blocking her way.

These are still very fresh impressions, but I like to try to capture my feelings about a place before I normalise and become used to it. Tonight we will see what Brussels has to offer!