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Published: September 30th 2017
One of the best hostel-supplied maps you'll ever get - attractions, restaurants, stores, bars all listed. Big, clear - nice! The only problem was that it was kind of plastic so folding it up and putting it in your pocket pretty much wrecked it.
Geo: 50.8371, 4.36761
Breakfast on the plane was a crappy, stale croissant, a fruit cup, yogurt, and a pack of raisins. Blah. Though breakfast wasn't, the landing was beautiful - I couldn't feel a thing. I can only remember one landing similar to that.
Heathrow airport - I'd forgotten how big it was! I seemingly walked forever to get to the other terminal. It really sucked at the airport - just through a thin piece of glass was one of the world's truly amazing cities that I could see, but couldn't experience. So close, yet so far away! At least I'll have a few hours in London before my flight back home to Calgary.
On to Brussels - a tiny little turbo-prop plane that I couldn't even stand upright inside of. I got to use my broken French to buy a train ticket once I landed. Got to the hostel and found it to be clean with a nice vibe, though there's not much in the way of social areas.
I showered and was off to sightsee - for me, there's no better cure for jet lag than to get out there and walk. Le Grand Place is an awesome square!
Arancine! I never tried any here, but these were a backpacker's best source of food in southern Italy - little balls of a combination of meat, veggies, and cheese encased in rice, and then deep fried. Cheap, filling, and easy to eat on the go.
Reminds me a little of the Rynek in Krakow though it's quite a bit smaller and you couldn't find great big chunks of grilled pork fat (see Euro 2006 blog entitled "How much fat can a man eat?"😉!
There were lots of people out and some nice architecture. A very vibrant scene! Many people don't like Brussels but so far I'm loving it. But maybe it's just because I'm so excited to be back in Europe. It's a cool place to hang out for a bit, but no more than a day is required.
The area around Le Grand Place had many shops and restaurants and the weather was beautiful (high teens, possibly even low 20s). Walking around without a jacket and having dinner outside - nice! I chose "Chez Leon" for their mussels menu - fries, mussels and a Maes beer for 12-13 euros.
The beer was very good - light and refreshing. The fries were only OK, not spectacular like I had expected. In fact, these were a little blah to be honest. The mussels were nothing special either - the local variety wasn't in season so they used the tiny Dutch variety. They were steamed
The Cheesecake Cafe in Brussels - it's probably just like the ones in Calgary, only the portions are probably half the size, twice the price, and taste 10 times as good!
with celery, parsley, and some herbs - a little bland. You can get better mussels in Calgary. The beer was definitely the highlight of the meal.
Afterwards I walked around and grabbed a waffle w/ chocolate sauce (mmm dark and bitter ...), bananas (very good - I'm used to eating crappy, rotting bananas that I keep for too long), and very nice strawberries. In fact the strawberries were surprisingly good, as I normally don't like them. I was in Heaven, sitting atop a light fluffy cloud of messy Belgian waffle goodness! I wanted a gelato after but was too full.
Back to the hostel where I found a couple of Polish cuties in the dorm room. Surprisingly, neither of them was named Magda - it seems like most Polish girls I have met are named that (see Euro 2006 blog entitled "Sometimes the best drug is a little Placebo"😉.
There was an eclectic mix of people in the room - German, Hungarian, Basque, Polish, and even a student from Chicago currently living in Sevilla, Spain. Christine was blasphemous - she told me that the Spanish women in Sevilla were NOT hot! Impossible!!! I almost attacked her with my
A Chi Chi's Mexican restaurant - I thought these were extinct like the Dodo bird!
There was also Douglas, Lebanese but 2nd generation Brazilian. Poor guy just broke up with his girlfriend (he's been away from Brazil for several months studying English in London). Luckily he had two Polish cuties to keep him company tonight! We all chatted and drank all of Heinrich's wine. I stayed in to catch up on sleep but they all went out at midnight - they all went to a techno club but some didn't like it so they split off from the group and went to a pub instead. Some of them returned at 5:00 and some at 6:00. I should've gone anyway because I barely slept between 1:00-5:00, and then was up until 8:30 before managing to fall asleep for an hour.
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