Brussels for food and drink!

Trip Start Nov 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 30, 2013

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Monday, December 24, 2012


Hmm, what to say about my little surprise gem from last time? Well, let's just say that at this point most of us were just plain tired and wanted a break haha so we did surprisingly little though we were only here for a day and a half.  The first day we hiked, and I really mean hiked, all the way to our hostel over 2 kms away.  Now did I mention that we had a very awkward night train as well?  I know we should learn our lesson and stop taking these right haha but it was not to be.  Shared our 6 bed with a very weird and awkward girl from Korea, didn’t say hi, no response when I smiled at her, didn’t say anything until about 2 hours into our trip and I told her to let us know when she wanted to sleep…to which she said "Sleep?  Now? Thank you!".  Not exactly a bad answer but her tone was kinda strange as if very grateful haha, she could’ve said something or let us know she was tired or something =S.  Ah wells, turns out she didn’t take off her hat (one of those soft plushy top hats), or her glasses (no lenses, just the giant frame), or her shoes (ewww) when she slept…and to round it all off, she ninja jumped in front of me when we were about to get off!  Curious character…

Ok, so we hiked to our hostel…the miserable 45mins walk through the dirty dirty Brussels haha.  Was a bad idea I think but at the time it didn’t seem that far and we wanted to be woken up by a bit of exercise =P.  Oh right, ALSO on the train =P, we had change at Koln at 6 in the morning for another train to take us to Brussels, hence us being sleepy =(.  Ok, so we arrived tired, sweating and feeling miserable.  Dumped our stuff but couldn’t curl up in a ball on our beds cos they weren’t ready yet *sigh*.  So with little choice, we trudged back outside and commenced our exploration.   At least the weather was warm…too warm I think haha, it was 13C!  We didn’t even need gloves!  Ok, so found a shopping centre with a very amusing Australian ice cream shop complete with armless kangaroo symbol.  Wandered down to the Grand Place/Grote Markt to again be wowed.  This time instead of the beer festival we had a giant construction sight!...oh wait, it was just a Christmas tree and it turns out to be quite cool actually =D.  Grabbed a nice heaping of chips mmm…Belgian fries! before proceeding home.  We were all really tired and to make matters worse it was raining…the whole time =( so instead of trying to force ourselves into tourist mode, we decided to take it easy and rest before collapsing from travel exhaustion (it exists!).

That night though was the night we met up with Wim!  Ah it was so good to see him again and he got us to meet him at the coolest place too.  Remember that construction sight/Christmas tree?  Well during the day it was quite a weird sight but during the night when it was lit up!  Man it was cool.  And to make it cooler!  We arrived just in time to see it during an amazing light and sound show complete with “Carol of the Bells” with dubstep remix XD!  I guess you can count on the Belgians for their quirkiness =P.  Anyways, managed to find Wim at the end of that, complete in his old fluoro green jacket from Sweden haha.  Caught up over dinner of fries at supposedly the BEST fries place in Brussels (it was certainly amazing) and was good to hear that he is almost free of his masters though the nine exams that he has to complete sounds daunting =S.  Especially just after Christmas‼  It just isn’t fair!  Glad I don’t study there haha. 

Wim took us to the Christmas markets a bit after that and introduced us to all things Belgian including smoutbolen?  Pronounced “smartbarlin”??  Haha don’t even start, the Dutch language has just too many double vowels and weird sounds that don’t correspond to the letters at all‼ XD  Though when I asked Wim for the basics, it’s just English with an accent‼  WHAT?  Hello - Hallo, Thank you – Dank u, Sorry -sorry…=P.  Anyways the Christmas market was fun, not as large as the German ones but it had a really chilled atmosphere with lots of kids everywhere and to top it off they had these amazing carousels!  Not exactly the first thing that people think of right but there really were amazing…ahh if only I was a kid!  Then had planes and rockets and all sorts of flying and soaring things…haha check the pictures =P.  Got some noses too, an amazingly sweet lolly that just exploded with syrupy goodness.  I forget their actual name haha but it was good =).  Got to a bar in the end and spent the rest of the night just hanging out with the awesome Belgian beers…mmm Duvel ftw.  Was a bit nostalgic talking about all the guys from exchange, their canoe trip in the 2nd semester that we missed, the apparently disgusting state of David and David’s room after they left XD, and was amazed to hear that Ben was married‼  Wim was also doing well with an internship at ABB under his belt working (the mechatronics people will be jealous!) and soon to be doing a PhD on metal printing‼  Something we have at Monash!  Very exciting, maybe a visit from Wim some time in the future? =P  Anyways, was nice to just chill with Wim and reminisce with our beers =), don’t think I even did that while in Stockholm so was cool to do that haha.  Another Linux convert apparently…*sigh*…and he also made it sound very useful, nooooo maybe I’ll have to learn it after all! D=.  Was cool to hear his adventures with the Swedes, apparently you just needed to hang out with them a bit longer!  (Being good at Swedish also helps =P). 

The next day we checked out at proceeded to just shop, chocolates and postcards was the mission and we achieved it admirably.  Didn’t do much after that, like I said we were all pretty tired and the 10am checkout didn’t help things so needless to say, our train from Brussels to London was filled with much sleeping…followed by more sleeping on our way from London to Edinburgh.

Anyways, I probably didn’t do Brussels justice this time just cos we were so tired and to really get the best of Brussels you need to be willing to explore a little.  I mentioned that Brussels was dirty but I should add that it is also very pretty…does that make sense?  Just needs a little dusting, well, a lot of dusty and gum removal but haha the buildings are actually quite nice, reminds me of a shorter version of Paris actually and of course the Grand Place is just simply amazing.  The museums there from memory were a lot of fun too and the place is just filled with so many things to do that’s not just chocolates, fries and waffles (if you have the heart for it) though those too are a must =P.  The EU headquarters, the art deco buildings, the new shiny shopping centres and of course the countless markets that seem to be everywhere =).  Anyways, read my other blog entry for a better judge of the true potential of Brussels.  This stop was for the catching up of friends and the tasting of delicious foods ;)
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