Its not every day that someone you love flies halfway around the world just to spend a weekend eating, napping and most importantly travelling with you. After over a year and a half of planning, I finally got to see Jessie again. Absolute heaven. After a très français brekkie of croissant and orangina at the airport, we wandered around the bus terminal until we found our ride to Brussels. Turns out a four and a half hour bus ride is the perfect way to catch up on a year apart – free wifi meant we could stalk insta to our heart’s content.
Two naps and a bag of M&Ms later, we finally arrived in Brussels. I’m very proud of the way we negotiated Bruxelles-Midi (the train station), using only the pictures on the signs. Turns out two months in France doesn’t do you much good in Belgium where Dutch and Flemish take priority over English and French. I loved Brussels, don’t get me wrong, but you could not pay me to get on another jerky tram ride when I’m feeling that exhausted again.
Once we’d checked in to our amazing hostel (if you’re staying in Brussels I would highly recommend Meininger), all plans of going out and drinking were quickly abandoned as we realised how tired we were. (I definitely had no excuse but Jessie had travelled through four countries in 24 hours by that time). We wandered around Brussels in the dusk, eating surprisingly average waffles and trying to avoid the pushy restaurant promoters in search of food.
Our evening was short: a meal of pasta and free rose and a semi-compulsory trip to Delirium for a real Belgium beer (surprise I still can’t drink beer but am very proud of myself for trying to again). We spent the night trying to ignore the snores of the two middle-aged Russian men who somehow thought it was fine to sleep shirtless in a six-person dorm room. At least they left the next day.
Our day on Sunday started with a 6am wakeup, a dark walk in the rain to the train and a run in with French bureaucracy in human form. Though we ended up having to re-purchase our train tickets as the conductor couldn’t find a barcode on the tickets I had bought weeks before (thanks mate), Bruges turned out to be worth the stress. Being a Sunday morning, we had the quiet cobblestoned streets to ourselves for a good hour before any signs of life were evident. We tried to chase the cold away with waffles and warm cafe stops between adventuring down little alleys and standing in awe of buildings embellished in gold.
Once the sun came out the city transformed, and we watched from our canal boat ride as tourists began to fill the small verandas of the bars and breweries that lined the water. We spent the afternoon with our bellies full of frites, people-watching from the balcony of the Historium – which we managed to sneak up to without paying for a ticket.
Its safe to say we well and truly deserved the (albeit accidental) three hour nap we took when we got back to the hostel. We took advantage of the city’s multiculturalism and had an amazing dinner of ramen and white wine, before a night of hostel bar drinks, table football games and free gum that ended at 6am. I support this.
The trip home was uneventful, as most bus rides are when you’re as hungover and exhausted as I was so I think we’ll leave it there for this week with a few snaps of Brussels at dusk. For my favourite pictures from Bruges check out my photo diary. Bisous.
Dutch phrase of the week: handen in de boot hauden aub – hands in the (canal) boat please.