July 31, 2015
Happy Birthday, Harry Potter. My bus has arrived in Brussels and I have 4 hours to spend at this bus station. I have already spent an hour and a half of it wandering around trying to find wifi, buying some bread to eat, and paying £0.50 to use the dirtiest washroom I have ever seen. Seriously, if you are going to make me pay for it, at least make sure it is nice! Now I am sitting on a bench outside the station relaxing for a bit because I don’t quite feel like looking at another map, or asking another person for directions, or carrying my luggage up another flight of stairs. So at the moment, I am content just to sit here on this bench with the sun warming my legs, watching the different types of people wander to and from the station. I am accepting the situation for what it is: I am in Brussels, Belgium. I AM IN BRUSSELS, BELGIUM! When the realization hits you, it is both a beautiful and overwhelming feeling. I mean, this morning I was wandering the canals of Amsterdam and now I am here on a bench in Brussels.
When the wind blows, it is a bit cold. It feels like late fall…early spring, perhaps. Definitely not the peak of summer. It would be nice if it were 25 degrees so that I didn’t have to wear a jacket, but at least it’s not raining. I may have to go to a bench inside though because the sun keeps showing itself and then hiding behind the clouds again and the inconsistancy is bothering me. When I was inside earlier, I bought a croissant for £1.20 and then a piece of bread for £0.50 because I was still hungry. I am longing for the days when I can go travelling and eat at nice restaurants and buy coffee when I’m cold without giving it a second thought, but for now, £0.50 pieces of bread will have to do.
August 2, 2015
Yesterday I was exploring Bruges but today is reserved for exploring Brussels! I woke up as I said I would at 7am, went to Gare du Midi train station where I stowed my bags for £4.50, and from there I walked to the city. It was very peaceful to walk through Brussels on a quiet Sunday morning. There were traces of Saturday night’s shenangians scattered on the ground. Shopkeepers were setting up tables. Police were strolling. And I was casually walking the streets. I found my way to the town center where I luckily happened to stumble upon one of the early morning free walking tours. My tour guide looked like Chris Pratt, except he was Scottish.
You really learn so much on free tours. I saw the house where Victor Hugo finished writing Les Mis (!!) — he called it the most beautiful square in all of Europe. I learned that archery is the national sport of Belgium. I saw the royal palace, the Mannekin Pis, which is apparently the statue to commemorate a little boy who put out the start of a fire by peeing on it. The best place to buy fries in Brussels, according to the Scottish Chris Pratt, is called Fritland. Lastly, I saw a church that was similar in style to Notre Dame (Flying buttress – gothic style – grotesques) The difference between a gargoyle and a grotesque is that gargoyles have water coming out of them and groteques don’t.
I made friends with two American girls on the tour and we went for Belgium waffles after. (Though apparently the ones we bought were actually from Australia?) In any case, they were very delicious! It was a very hot day today and I felt very full after eating fries and waffles.
I love summer days — particularly summer days spent in Brussels.