Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras!

Today was Mardi Gras, so about 10 international students and I took the train to Binche, a small city near the French border, for Belgium's most famous Carnivale celebrations. The Binche Carnivale is known for colorful costumes and the throwing of oranges. 

Binche train station
The outside of the train station
We left school at noon and walked to Gare du Nord, where we boarded the 12:32 for Binche. As did a million other people. The train was filled to capacity, people standing in the aisles and sitting on the floor in the spaces between compartments. When we finally arrived and several hundred people wanted to leave the station at once, the geniuses at Binche decided it was probably a really good idea to only open one (1!) door in the station, so everyone just stood around in the platform for a while until the crowd slowly filtered out.

In costume throwing oranges

Marco, Lera, and I, staying warm by making funny faces

Have I ever told you Niklas hates having his picture taken? Well he does. Hates it.

Once we were finally outside we meandered downtown, got some fries and some cheeseburgers, huddled together for warmth and waited for the parade to start. Once it finally happened we mostly just tried to catch as many oranges as possible, like kids that just want Jolly Ranchers at every Fourth of July parade ever.

Hind, Lera, Lydia, and Maria got us some nice oranges

 Finally, pockets filled with oranges, we made it back to the train station and rode back to Brussels. Some of us may have slept the entire way, but not before posing with some heroic looking statues first.

I really wanted to climb in onto the statue but Niklas wouldn't let me

So Laure tried to push me in instead

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