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A Day in Brussels, Belgium – Day 41
Thursday 10th September 2009 – Belgium
After the long walk of yesterday, and another sleepless night listening to snoring all night, I was feeling very tired and ached from head to toe, literally.
I awoke early and had my shower while the snoring guy and another guy, who came later the previous day, carried on sleeping. I then had my breakfast before coming back and packing my things away.
I spoke this morning to the two guys. Snory being from America, and the other guy from Japan/Guildford. It was nice to actually speak to them, and to see the room in a bit of light for a change. The guy from America had travelled extensively, and was recovering from a fever picked up from over exertion, hence the heavy snoring.
Anyway, I was off and on my way to the station, already feeling the burn, and knowing that I had a 1 – 2 hour walk ahead of me. It started to rain lightly, and continued for a while, although never getting too heavy, and actually doing me a service by keeping me a little cooler.
Also, as I walked, I couldn’t help but notice every water drain cover was spewing out water. Every street, and every cover, with water everywhere. Nobody was doing anything about it so I guessed it was a deliberate thing. Another thing that I was forced to notice was the fire that destroyed a bin and its contents as I approached. I wondered if someone had dropped a cigarette into it, but later realised another 2 or 3 bins with the same situation. Again, no-one seemed bothered.
I had enjoyed my time in Paris and would like to come back and see more at a later date, maybe even take a ride on a boat, or climb the Eiffel tower. The place is filled with cafés and bars and restaurants, its a great place to be.
I made it to the train station, although only just, and printed my ticket from the machine. I had a couple of hours to wait, as I always like to be as early as possible, just in case. I found a seat and took the wait off only to realise I had sat next to a homeless guy who stank. There was nowhere else to sit so I rode it out for a while. Eventually I moved, I had to, and was happier for doing so. There are so many homeless people all around, and especially in the train stations. Sometimes they are thrown out by the guards.
When the time came I boarded the train, and was aware just how much busier this train was than the last. It is a main route I guess, from a main station.
The ride was comparatively shorter, and more comfortable, and it didn’t take long before we rolled into Brussels station, in Belgium, another big station. It dawned on me in the train that I didn’t know the directions to the hostel, or even what the hostel was called, so I had to use an Internet café in the station to find out, so I could put it into the sat nav. I spend so long planning and writing notes, but I forgot the most important bits, doh! I needed to pick up my tickets for tomorrow from here also as the machines were out of use. I had lunch, then headed for the exit.
I thought I had it sussed but it wasn’t long before roads stopped looking how they did on my makeshift map. I was lost. I couldn’t use the sat nav as it wouldn’t detect the satellites, so I was blind. I managed to walk a long way in the wrong direction and ended up in the main tourist spot of the city, so it wasn’t bad after all. There was an information place there so I grabbed a map, and finally knew where I was going. The bag was killing me at this point and I just wanted to get to the hostel and lie down.
As it turned out, when I arrived at the hostel, it was right next to where I had walked past previously, but was hidden away down a small alley, so I didn’t spot it, silly boy!
The hostel was nice and the people friendly, and it had free WI-FI, cool! I was in a room with 3 other beds, but I was the only one there at that point, so I had a lie down.
The room had a shower and sink, and was relatively modern. I had a little look around the hostel and came back to see that 2 more beds had been taken. As I sorted my things out another guy came in to take the remaining bed, so it was a full house. There were 2 Japanese guys and a guy from Serbia (Alex). I got on well instantly with Alex, who spoke good English.
We went and had a meal that the hostel had laid on for the guests, and was quite nice. Most of the people working in the hostel are from America, and they seem cool. Alex went off to meet a mate and I spent the eve sorting out the next few days, booking, planning etc. it took me hours. I’m very grateful for having my laptop, and am aware now of just how much I need to do. I need to be at least 2 days ahead in order to be on track and to book places without them being full. Everywhere needs to be within walking distance of each other as well, so its a lot of planning, but it is worth it to know that you have a room and travel arrangements already sorted.
People kept coming and going from the room all evening, and took til around 1 am for the lights to go out, so I guessed it would be another night of not much sleep. Brussels is quite a nice place, though.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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