Started to wonder why I bothered coming here when I got off the train. Didn't look like much at first. It was a 1mi. walk to Maneken Pis, so I decided to wander that way and try to find a place to stay on the way. Nothing special until I got really close. All the sudden there are tourists everywhere. I looked up and saw the statue. Wow, that's it? There are stores everywhere around it selling chocolate, waffles and Maneken Pis stuff. Then I looked up a little higher. Some interesting architecture up there. I got myself a waffle and some chocolate and went on my way to figure out what it was. Just so happened it was my second stop, La Grand'Place. I get to the square it's in and wow, the architecture changed. Once again, tourists everywhere. I wandered the streets a bit and came across this one street that had tables everywhere. Must be tourist district. Everyone had picture menus selling the same stuff - mussels, lobster, fries, paella
. I said screw this and wandered far away. I looked in a couple hotels and tried to find a computer. Finally found one for E2.50/0.5hr that I could upload with. I tried to hit the blog and it didn't have flash installed so I couldn't upload. I tried the java app on facebook, no luck. I was stuck uploading with the simple page on facebook. Upload was slow and I was only able to get 10 photos up. Next trip I'm bringing a netbook. I'll have to deal with the extra weight. I got a room for the night next door for E99. I couldn't find a single restaurant that didn't look touristy that was open still, so I caved and went to one. Got raped E23 to have a bucket of mussels, fries and a beer. The beer was a Jupiler. The mussels were good, but the fries were not as good as Amsterdam. Feeling somewhat satisfied, I wandered some more. I swear, no one in Europe GOES anywhere! I failed again at finding a hot spot. I did find a museum with some interesting ruins under the street, though. I heard some classic rock coming from down the alley and decided to check it out. Got a Framboise, which was another fruity beer, a Chimay that was similar to a Guinness and a Trappist which was another hearty beer. They were all good and combined, resulted in a nice buzz. The people here are much more open and I was actually able to talk to a couple people in this bar. The bartender's English was limited, but we still had a good conversation about traveling. He said Paris sucks and I should only spend a day there. Go to other parts of France like the South or West
. He also recommended Croatia as a great upcoming tourist spot. Everything is still cheap and it's a great place. I love that him and the other guy I talked to from Brussels think the North is very "to themselves." I feel much better here. I also find it funny that the bartender said exactly what I was thinking about Brussels - take your pictures and then hit the bars. Belgium has the best beers. I haven't had a bad one yet. I was talking to the other guy at the bar and he felt like Belgium is for people who like to drink and taste their beer. Germany they just chug it. I love this place. Seafood and awesome beer. What more could you ask for? Oh, and it's gotta be at least 5deg warmer here.
Woke up with a little headache. Oh yeah, beer is not a substitute for water. Oops. Rehydration time. Fantastic view from my room. Walked around scoping the place out in the daytime. Had some coffee and a croissant at a nice little place. E3. Walked around trying to figure out what to see and stumbled across a church. Not sure which church. Wandered some more and came across St. Catherine Cathedral. So I lost my pen and decided to find some new ones. Ok, note to self - bring more pens next time. E3 for 2 pens is insane. Not only that, you'll spend forever trying to find a place that sells them. Walked around some more looking for a beanie
. Only one I liked was E35. Not cold enough yet. I'll probably get to Prague and wish I bought it. Whatever. Decided I was hungry and stopped at a cafe. I tried to order meatballs, but I don't think that's what I got. They were little sausages over applesauce. I had a Gueuze beer to go with it. The beer was the first one I didn't like. The sausage was good. There were 4 different kinds and the one that was almost black was the only one I didn't really care for. It came with fries and I'm going to stop getting them since every time they're getting worse. These tasted American. So, I came to the conclusion I want to see the country a bit and take the bartender's advice to check out Berlin. A day was really enough for Brussels. Didn't really feel like going into any museums and I saw more than enough cathedrals for one day. Evidently last minute travel can be an issue. No more reservations available on the day train. I had to take 3 trains to get to Cologne for a night train. I almost missed my second train and it was jam packed. I had to stand for like a half hour until everyone got off. VWs in cow country. Yep, I'm in Germany. Unfortunately the countryside to Cologne was not very exciting. Lots of farms, some hills and lots of wind turbines.