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Brussels Travel Blog

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The morning started with a quick breakfast and a trip to some souvenir shops. We would be meeting back with the group in Brussels for a lecture at the European Union Commission today and had to arrive before 2:00pm. The plan was simple: train at 9:55am, arrive at quarter to one, and meet the group. It was a lot more hectic than we had imagined.

We got caught up in the souvenir hype and it wasn’t until Craig mentioned it was 9:45am that we began to bolt towards the train station. Just like the first time in Amsterdam, we encountered some confusion. There are 15 tracks at the station, however, each one is labeled a or b. Our train was to leave from 14a, on the complete opposite side of where we were. We ran through the station, boarded the only train at 14a (there was no sign indicating where the train was headed), and began to ask people if the train was destined for Brussels. After a few non-assuring yes’s, we settled in, hoping to arrive in the right city.

Once the operator came through to check the tickets, we finally were able to confirm that the train was going to Brussels. Now, the only problem was which station? Brussels seems to have about 50 different train stations throughout the city. The closest station to where our group would be was the Brussels-Luxembourg station (not to mention the station names don’t make much sense either). We ended up getting dropped off at the Brussels-Midi station on the other side of town.

Craig and I frantically searched for A: a payphone to call Bertrand, and B: an information desk to tell us how to get to the meeting point. Mission A failed as we didn’t have a phone card that worked in Brussels. Mission B was accomplished around 1:15pm. Off we went to the bus station.

The bus ride turned out to be a lot shorter than it looked on the map. We got off at the Luxembourg station around 1:40pm, right in front of the European Parliament. We figured this had to be the place. First stop was the information desk to ask where group tours begin. The helpful lady pointed us in the correct direction, and again, off we went (Remember, I have my backpack on and Craig has a big suitcase he’s lugging around).

Once at the group tour area, no one familiar was in site. We walked in and were stopped by a friendly, English speaking employee. We asked if our group was there and she said there was no appointment for our group. Great. She asked if I had the address of the place, which luckily I did, and she told us the way. We were at the European Parliament, but had to be at the European Commission, right around the block. At 1:55pm, we found Bertrand and the rest of the group. We were bombarded with questions about Egypt and what not, but all Craig and I wanted to do at that point was sleep.

After a rather boring hour long lecture on the world economy, we got back on the bus towards the hostel. The hostel was nice and it was located only about a mile from downtown. Brussels, Belgium, isn’t known for much, but they are very good at what they are known for: Chocolate, waffles, beer, and lace. The central area also has its own unique charm (unfortunately, I am currently experiencing some serious camera problems and was not able to take any pictures of Brussels). After dinner, I strolled with Bertrand and a few other students to see one of the more famous sites of Brussels, the Manikin Piss.

I was expecting a big statue in the middle of a square. We turned a corner, and tucked away, not much taller than a foot, stood a statue of a little boy peeing. I couldn’t believe how small it was. All I could do was laugh. The souvenir shops in the area had many replicas of the statue ranging from chocolate to corkscrews (you can probably guess where the screw was located).

That night, a bunch of us went bar hopping. The nightlife scene in Brussels really isn’t my style. When I go out, I like to go to big clubs and dance. Brussels was just a bunch of pubs and bars with people mingling and getting drunk. It was fun for a while, but I was getting tired from the long day and called it a night.
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photo by: Vlindeke