for this ride

i am loving being back home, sleeping in my apartment and driving my own vehicle. i certainly don't miss the bitter cold of europe. sitting in my warm living room, watching the office, and sorting through pictures from belgium seems to be the best of both worlds.

kortrijk is a city in west belgium that is--in my experience--cold, windy, and beautiful. i visited the fanciest [read:only] perfume shop i've ever been in. nothing was my taste; it was all elegant and refined things like sage and amber and other obscure things that i didn't know carried their own scents. i'll stick to my $20 bottle of coconut body spray, thank you very much. the store was run by a select few fabulous men, all sporting bald heads and heavy eyeliner. their appearances were mildly unsettling, i have to say. but the presentation of the store was stunning.

the sun was setting as we left the store, and i all but leapt out of the car as we passed over a bridge. i'll do anything for a good picture.

we ventured into the city square for another town square celebration. everything was illuminated with lights and fire. 

these christmas presents stood well over my head--probably seven or eight feet high--and would sporadically shoot fire out the top. americans are really slacking in the public christmas presentations by comparison.

the rest of the square was illuminated by tall white and purple lights, and columns that also spit occasional bursts of fire.

okay, they had these unicorn dancers on stilts and if i'm being honest, they were a tiny bit unsettling. being on stilts, they were really lanky and ran around not unlike murderers in scary movies limping around with shot legs. they'd also gallop up behind people and drape their long, stilt-ed legs over their shoulders and it kind of freaked me out.

just outside of the square was an old convent, inhabited by priests, nuns, and single women that couldn't otherwise own homes. a few of the homes are still being lived in. 

 the little houses backed up to a stunning cathedral lit up with purple lights. like most things, pictures do it no justice. it was absolutely beautiful.

 in the courtyard in front of the cathedral were several food and beverage carts setup and so, so many people drinking and dancing and chatting.  

it did seem kind of weird to have inebriated people partying plainly in the sight of the jesus statues, though i guess there aren't many places in europe that are very far from churches.

there were two or three umbrella heaters which didn't seem sufficient, though i was probably biased wearing my thin tights and not carrying a coat. i was probably the coldest i've ever been. it was nice to get home that night and bury myself under the covers.

[title from high for this by ellie goulding]

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