I have to admit that Brussels is one place I went where I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I knew about Belgium was that they have amazing chocolate. I’d also heard from fellow travelers that they were supposed to have street vendors that sold incredible waffles, so basically, the only thing on my itinerary when I arrived was to eat.
I spent my first day walking around the city. Brussels was small but enjoyable. I definitely thought that two days was plenty of time to see everything that I wanted as I walked around half the city in just one afternoon. I was very happy to find an English bookstore and bought a couple books. Although books are heavy, I’ve never been super into Kindles, but I love to read, especially on the train or if I wasn’t in the mood to go out by myself at night and hadn’t met anyone I really clicked with at the hostel.
Fortunately, that wasn’t a concern in Brussels. I was feeling close to 100% after my time being sick in Paris. I’d booked a room ahead of time and didn’t have any debacles with my hostel. In fact, I met two awesome girls: Vikki from England and Arnika from New Zealand. They were both on the last part of their travels so they were exhausted, and it rained almost the entire time that we were there. This meant we spent much of our time in the hostel chatting…and eating that amazing Belgium chocolate.
After my hilarious language barrier moment in London, I wasn’t too surprised when I found that I couldn’t understand something that Arnika was telling me about her pack. She was the first Kiwi I’d ever met (in fact, she taught me that term). I had commented on how heavy her pack looked and she’d told me that it was actually a lot lighter because she’d given her ____ to someone in the last hostel. I remember looking at her and clarifying, “You gave your what away?” She repeated that she’d given her ____ away. At that point I looked at Vikki who admitted that she couldn’t understand her either. Arnika, having a great sense of humor, laughed and said that she’d done a lot of camping, so she had packed a ‘teent’ that she slept in. At that point, Vikki and I both went, “Ohhhh, a ‘tent!’” which made Arnika laugh even harder. If any of you have ever seen French Kiss where Meg Ryan first meets Kevin Kline on the plane and he’s talking about his friend, ‘Bub’, it was exactly like that.
After we figured out how to understand each others’ accents, we were fast friends for the rest of our time there, which made me realize how happy I was to be in a hostel again. We decided to go to dinner together and it was so nice to be social again, especially since I’m a very outgoing person. Since the weather was so crappy and it continued to rain the entire time we were there we decided to spend the night in. We went to the store and bought flavored beer and vodka. The waffle street vendors weren’t out either due to the weather, so I bought waffles at the grocery store and also bought some of the most expensive chocolates they had. When in Rome…or Belgium. We spent the night in the hostel talking, drinking, laughing, and eating. It was a surprisingly fun and relaxing couple of days despite the rain.
Since there weren’t many sights to see and we spent the couple days mostly indoors, this is the one city on my trip where I didn’t take a single picture. In retrospect, it would have been nice to get one of Vikki and Arnika, but I didn’t think of it at the time. At least I’ll always have our ‘teent’ story.