Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wandering in Brussels

Fear, it is the most important feeling that anyone could have, fear is that thing we feel when we confront a threat, we are in a dangerous situation or we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown.
But it is not stupid to be afraid, the reactions towards it are the stupid ones, some people freeze, some others react quickly but in a stupid manner and some others react to it in the best way possible. I have seen people getting hit by cars because they got scared and they froze in place, but I have seen other people running towards safety when threatened in the same way. It is all about reacting accordingly.

To be franlky, it was my first time travelling alone, it was my first time travelling to other country, it was my first time crossing the Atlantic and most importantly, it was my first time doing all those things together. As soon as I crossed customs and was officialy in Europe, more precisely, Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, the official languages there are Dutch, French and German, but nobody I knew in brussels spoke German, I do not speak Dutch and I am not fluent in French.

My first thought there was: "I have to get to the hostel", it was followed by "where is the hostel?". I had a problem, the information of the reservation was online and I did not have internet on my phone, in fact it was running out of battery, I had just 25% of the capacity of the battery remaining, I knew my current plugs would not fit in european sockets. The first thing I did was to visit a store which fortunately had computer with internet for use, I bought the plug adapter and 20 minutes of internet which was more than I needed, I got the address and reservation number for the hostel I was staying, it was the Hostel Louise in Boulevard Général Jacques number 82. I thought it would be a good idea to take a taxi instead of taking the risk of getting lost in the city.

I went out the airport and the first thing I felt was a cold chilling air. I was wearing waterproof sneakers, denim shoes, a long sleeve t-shirt and a clear brown raincoat and the air was cold and very humid, one of my favourite types of weather. I saw a line formed besides a sign of taxi so I decided to form in the line as well.

As I was aproaching the end of the line, the man behind me asked me if we could share the cab, I told him where I was going and he told me he was going just a couple of blocks ahead so we could share the cab and split the cost. I did not see anything wrong with that. The man had a leather suitcase on his right hand and he was pulling a bigger case with his left hand, he had a deep blue suit, white shirt and red tie, his hair was well groomed and he had a bluetooth headset on his right ear. He appeared to be a a business person that could afford a single cab but that idea would soon be dismissed when I found out by the taxi driver that the fare from the airport to the area we were going was of 90€, so the cost would be splitted in half, reducing my cost to 45€, out of the 200€ I had in cash.

I arived to the hostel with four hours in advance so I was allowed to leave my luggage there. I was very tired from my trip so I decided to reast in the main hall while my cell phone was charging. some twenty minutes later some spanish guy started making a scene because nobody in the hostel spoke spanish and he did not speak any other language besides spanish, he had dyed blond hair with some dashes of black, he had piercings in his left side of the lip and another in the right ear lobe. I decided to help him communicate with the person currently in charge who told him the same as me, we could do the check-in later that day, we could use the facilities and we could leave our luggage there.

He thanked me and invited me to go out and walk the city. I was extremely tired and my first response would have been "no", but then I thought "this will be my only full day here, it would be stupid of me to waste it sleeping" so finally I decided to go out with him.

We wandered off, took a tram and ended up in the historic centre of the city which is a square surrounded by big old buildings with gold decorations all over, it was a beutiful place.
©Amel Hartmann

We then proceeded to look for a place he spent al the way talking about, it was some sort of bar that held the world record for serving the largest amount of beers in the world, he did not have the name of the place and he did not know where it was, he did not spak any useful language, so it was up to me to find a single bar in a whole city in which I had only been for 5 hours. I started asking random people until I could get a clue, someone finally directed us towards an old part of town with narrow streets filled with bars and restaurants at each side of the street. We started asking in each bar and I finally got a name: Delirium Café. I also got an approximate location that was pointed in our map.

 ©Amel Hartmann

We finally got to the bar after two hours of searching, we entered the bar and picked up our place near the bartender, we asked for the menu and he handed us a big book with 3 beers per page with a little description, the amount of beer per bottle and the cost. We started drinking, I tasted some varieties of beers such as the one in the picture below, a beer with banana flavour. Soon enough, and after several beers I ran out of the remaining 155€ and I was left with only 5€ to return to the hostel.
  ©Amel Hartmann

On the way back to the hostel he met a friend of his and we got split, they wanted to go somewhere else that I had no interest in visiting so I returned to the hostel, I was tired, my feet hurt a lot and I was somewhat drunk. I arrived back to the hostel, rested up a bit and then went out to get some cash for the trip to the airport and looked for something to eat for dinner, that last part was somewhat difficult because it was 12:05 in the morning, I could only find a burger joint open and I had that for dinner. When I returned to the hostel I asked the manager for directions to the airport, talked to my girlfriend on the phone and went to sleep for the remaining two hours I had left.

I woke up at 4:00AM, took a shower and then left for the airport, I arrived one hour early, I proceeded to check-in and boarded my airplane without delays, I was heading for Munich with a stop at Copenhagen so I decided to get a rest and I slept the whole flight. 

1 comment:

  1. Finally!!! I wait for this writing!! <3 love it!! I always love the way you describe things *_*


    XOXO :3