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ich bin ein Brusseler!

Written on: Monday November 5th, 2007

A journal entry from: Fall for Germany

The local train left around 9:31 to get to koeln where wewould catch faster train to Brussels. Our train didn't leave til 10:35 and the trip only takes 25 minutes, butsometimes the train is running late and we didn't want to risk it.  So 9:30.  Sallie told us what time to meet. Remember that. 


9:22, I get there (i love my tram, it gets me everywhereright on time) and I see Mike.  NoSallie.  So Mike calls.  This is what I heard:

Where are you, Sallie? 

Our train leaves in 5 minutes!

well, if you leave right now, you can make the 10 o'clocktrain.

A couple minutes later she called back to say that shewasn't going to be able to make the 10o'clock either. 


Apparently she turned her alarm off in the night or justdidn't wake up because she was still at home/in bed when Mike called.


We were a bit frustrated.  She tends to be late for things, like trains.


So we left.  Shecalled and said she bought a ticket and would meet us there around 2:30 orso.  Oh, and she made the hostelreservations for us and we didn't have the information.  We get there around 12 and immediatelyhead to Mike's friend's apartment (another Furman study abroad kid) and dropoff our stuff and hang out for a bit talking/getting food.  By then it's 1 or 1:30 and we reallydon't have time to go do anything before meeting Sallie, so we stick around (abit frustrated).  When we find her,we discover she didn't print out the hostel information, so we have to find aninternet café first.  That takes abit.  Then figure out when thehostel is.  That takes a bit.  When we get to the hostel, Salliedecides that she needs to take a shower so she can wash her hair.  She didn't have time that morning (noduh).  so we sit around and waitsome more.  At approximately 4:30in the afternoon, we finally start seeing Brussels.  Thirty minutes later, the sun sets.    My first day in Brusselswas basically wasted and I was leaving on the 7:00 train the next day. Great.We did find some cool statues of lions and take some pictures with them.  I also have some decent pictures ofnight shots of the city.  We wentback to Houston and Courtney's apartment and made dinner with them.  VERY good.  It'd been a while since I had homemade food, and it waspretty cheap.  Since we were onlystaying one night, we had to go out and try some of the famous Brussels beer-and they knew a place that had 2,000 types of beers.  Across the street (owned by the same people) was an absinthebar.  We went there first.  Absinthe is not actually dangerousanymore.  They have refined therefining process, so it's not toxic like it used to be.  But how often do you get to try wormwood?  It wasn't that great.  It tastes like black licorice.  The more expensive it is, the morepotent it is and we got the non expensive kind.  Sallie was the only one that got a bit affected by it and itdidn't hit her for about an hour. Basically, it just seemed like someone turned on more lights andeverything was brighter.  And shewas a bit more silly than she usually is (it's hard to tell when she's drunktoo.  she acts more or less thesame).  In the morning, we went tosee a pretty square with pretty buildings, but I totally forgot what itactually was.  Then we saw ManequinPis.  The legend is, a father losthis son for several days in Brussels and when he was finally found, decided tocommission a fountain of his son in the same pose in which he was found.  See my photos for the result.  The souvenirs are almost as big as itis. 


The UN's "headquarters" so to speak, are based inBrussels.  We headed over there butthere's not much to see- just a curvy building that's kinda cool.  And a random arch in thebackground.  For lunch, we went toa delicious place that reminded me of Elephant Deli in downtown Portland.  Wonderful, organic, fresh, vegan-optionfood (Houston is a vegetarian). Fantastic.  The Atonium isanother tourist attraction and Little Europe happens to be right by it.  We went over there and looked at theAtonium and went to Little Europe. It was in a complex that seemed like a deserted Disneyland.  Kinda creepy.  It was winter, so the restaurants, the water park, thecinema, and the souvenir stores were all closed.  Little Europe was really expensive.  I didn't feel like paying 15euros to gosee miniature golf sized replicas of European sites I have/am going to see inperson.  Houston didn't have enoughmoney.  so while the others wentin, we explored the deserted tourist village and then sat on the kiddieplayground.  We got bored of that?so we ended up playing hopscotch for a good 20 minutes with a 2c coin as astone.  Then some little schoolkids came and we slinked off feeling a bit embarrassed.  Luckily, the rest of our people cameout soon after. 


And then we went home. Oh wait, we bought some chocolates as well.  The end.


From Scott on Nov 23rd, 2007

I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU GOT TO HAVE ABSINTHE! I ALWAYS WANTED TO HAVE SOME AND NEVER DID. I had the chance to in Italy but wasn't aware of how much more refined it is. I love you. You're the best. Tell me aobut the chocolates. And the beer. Especially the beer. I LOVE belgium style wheat beers. They're tasty and often have fruit overtones. Did you like the UN headquarters? Want to work for them? I think you should!