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Cold hands, hot drinks

A couple of weeks ago I went on a short euro trip with a friend. We took the Eurostar to Paris and after a short stay there we hopped on another train and headed to Belgium, where we spent a few days travelling around, mostly by train.

Gare du Nord station in Paris
Gare du Nord station in Paris

Along the way I learned a few things:

  • Belgium is full of amazing places to photograph.
  • Belgium is really cold in February. A good pair of wool fingerless gloves can help keep your hands relatively warm while still allowing you to operate your camera.
  • Belgian beer is really good, and if you are not careful it might go to your head.
  • When beer goes to your head you are more likely to lose things.
  • Belgium feels even colder during February when you are trying to take pictures without gloves, which you left behind in a bar in Brugues.
Brugues
Brugues
Grote Markt by night, Brussels
Grote Markt by night, Brussels

Overall it was a fantastic trip and I was fairly successful at ignoring my freezing fingers and staying focused on the first point of the list. Frequent stops to go inside somewhere warm and have a hot to drink were a big help. There's nothing like the feeling of wrapping your cold hands around a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate after being out in the cold.

Julio enjoying a coffee and waffle in Ghent
Julio enjoying a coffee and waffle in Ghent

The overcast weather probably wasn't the best for architectural photography, as it resulted in having a flat and overexposed sky for the backdrop of a lot of the shots I took during daytime. It would have been lot better if I got some blue sky breaks inbetween the clouds, but all things considered I'm still pretty happy with some of the shots I got. In some cases the gloomy weather actually helped bring a certain mood to the shots.

The Courts of Law in Brussels
The Courts of Law in Brussels
The Courts of Law in Brussels
The Courts of Law in Brussels

Ghent was probably the nicest surprise of the whole trip. I have to admit I knew little about it before going there. Now I have to say that even though I would definitely return to all the places I visited during our trip, if I could only choose one to go back to it would be Ghent, hands down.

Bikes by the canal, Ghent
Bikes by the canal, Ghent
Ghent by night
Ghent by night
Ghent by night
Ghent by night

It was a great trip and we had a really good time. It was also good to take my camera somewhere different. I live in London, which is an amazing place to photograph, but after you've lived somewhere for a while your eyes get used to it and sometimes it's a little harder to get inspired. Travelling allows you to see everything with new eyes, making it easier for that inspiration to resurface. Even when you can't feel your fingers anymore.