Boring old Brussels...not!
Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
58Trip End Dec 01, 2006
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Anyway...when I was packing up in Bruges, it dawned on me during my hangover that I hadn't organised a place to sleep in Brussels. So I went about solving the problem in the easiest way: I went to www.hostelworld.com to have a look
When I arrived at Brussels, I called Rutt, my Estonian host for the two days. She asked me to meet her at Brussels Centraal. Now considering I was at Brussels Midi (south), which is on the same line, I thought this might not be too much of a problem. So I went to the dudes at the train ticket office and asked them if I could get a ticket (in English, then German, then I tried the Flemish I could muster). They threw their hands up in the air and turned to one another like I was not speaking any language, but merely gibberish. In the end I had to draw a picture and then they sold me a ticket and told me to go away. In my frustration I had neglected to ask WHICH train I had to take. For anyone who has been in these large metro systems, you will know they can be a little confusing when attempting them for the first time - especially without a map.
Eventually I made it to where Rutt was and we walked to her apartment, which was suprisingly close
Near the Grote Markt (town square), there is this street with a few nightclubs on it and about 30 kebab shops. The street would have been about 50 metres long and it was lined with chairs and sprookers trying to get you to eat at their kebab shop. They would shove the menu into your hand and then grab your arm and try to pull you sideways to their seats. Three times I let them pull me in and three times they gave me shitty kebabs. Don't do it unless you are poor. Did I mention that Brussels is about twice the price as the rest of Belgium?
On my second day there, I was walking around the city and enjoying the scenery. I finally bought myself a guide book, so I can get a bit of a leg-up on new cities. I got the Lonely Planet: Europe on a shoestring. According to the book, I am now a 'shoestringer'. It is good to have, although it only pays good attention to a few countries. When coming out of the bookstore, I heard this pumping music, so I walked towards it
When I woke up, two more couch surfers had arrived, which took the amount of people in the house from the normal one, to five! So we all headed out after a while to this bar. In our posse we had:
One Australian (me)
One Estonian (Rutt, our host)
One Pole (Kasia)
One South Korean (Juhi, Jasons wife)
One American (Jason)
Jason was keen to try some Belgian beers, so we headed for a bar that seemed from the outside, like it had a wide selection
I had to get to Cologne and Jason and Juhi were going that way, so I hitchhiked with them. On our journey, we drove through FOUR COUNTRIES INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! I will explain that soon. Jason is a helicopter pilot who works for the US military in training exercises in Germany and if he fuels up his car on a US Army base, he gets the fuel at about one third the price. So we start in Belgium and drive through the bottom tip of the Netherlands. Two countries...While in the Netherlands we go around searching for this airforce base that Jason has heard about except that he doesn't know exactly where it is. We spend about an hour looking for it I reckon, going back and forth and getting lost in a series of one way streets. When we get there, I get my security pass for the base and then we go look for the fuel station. When we get there, it is closed as it is a public holiday in the Netherlands. This was mildly amusing, except I don't think Jason got the joke. So, that makes three countries, because army bases count as the territory of the country that owns them. We continued to Germany where he dropped me off in Cologne. Four countries. I was very happy that he did that for me and I managed to save about 20EUR. When I got out in Cologne I saw a bum getting bashed by police because he wouldn't cooperate. Good times. Next entry from Rijeka - my Cologne stay doesn't deserve a new entry.