Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 273: Antwerp Sings

Yesterday I hitched from Brugge to Antwerp. Fortifying my belief in Belgium as a hitch hiker's paradise, I waited less than 10 minutes for all three rides combined. When I was back in Gent I found myself hitching out of the same spot I was in 4 days ago, but this time I had company. I was excited to see another hitch hiker. He said he had been there for 30 minutes. I only felt a little bad when a car picked me up in 7 minutes and he was still standing there. Though this was going to be my narcissistic beauty for the day, Antwerp trumped it.

Hippies get rides faster, good luck!

Upon arriving in Antwerp, my hosts came to meet me and after dinner, brought me to a one night event called "Antwerp Sings." An event where people get together and sing songs, whether they're Belgian classics or American pop, everyone sings together. We could hear the singing before we saw the scene. Fueled by beer tents, a plaza full of people with vocal chords ablaze.

Even though I didn't know most of the songs, being a part of a crowd full of singing people was so beautiful. I started talking with a young woman next to me and she was kind enough to explain the history behind many of the Flemish songs. I didn't even feel bad that I only knew the words to 'I Gotta Feeling' and 'Thank You for the Music'. Everyone was having a great time singing and the communal atmosphere was beautiful... and free!

What started out as a crowd of bar-goers has expanded exponentially into a a city of singers. The rapidness which this event expanded is inspiring. Getting people together to sing is a simple idea that I'm surprised doesn't happen more often. This event tours around a handful of towns in Belgium, uniting all of the townsfolk in song. Case in point -- here I was with my two CouchSurfing hosts who I had only known for a few hours and I ended up chatting with this other woman for the rest of the night, singing with a crowd of strangers -- that's a beautiful thing.

What was the most beautiful thing that happened to you today?

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