I had foolishly gone and bought a ticket to Brussels without getting in touch with my friend Sophie first. Remember her? I met her waaaay back in the beginning at Jackson’s Manor in Melbourne, when I convinced her to come with Steffen and I to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road. Turns out she moved from her hometown of Utrecht to Amsterdam about a year ago.
Sadly, I found this out the morning of my bus to Brussels, and the cost of changing the ticket was nearly the price of another ticket. And to make me feel even worse, her birthday was that Saturday and she was having a party on Friday night. I told her that I’d try to come back to the city before moving on, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to swing it.
By the time I arrived at the Gare du Nord in Brussels, I hadn’t yet decided where I was gonna stay. I only had my trusty LP map, which was (again) woefully inadequate: one of the hostels wasn’t even on the map and the other was on the map, but the roads which would take me there weren’t.
Being mildly obsessive about distances, I used the middle segment of my index finger between the first two nuckles to figure out which one was closer, estimating when parts of the map went missing. I finally crowned the Hostel Vincent Van Gogh the winner. Didn’t hurt that it was cheaper either.
However I couldn’t quite figure out how to walk there, which was annoying since it was supposedly within walking distance. Normally this wouldn’t have stopped me from trying and getting hopelessly lost, but I was hungry and tired and in no mood for my usual antics.
I took the train to the stop closest to the hostel and after walking past the hostel’s street once, I found my way there. The hostel seemed reasonably clean and busy, so I booked a couple nights. It was a strange setup though: my room was across a small courtyard, near a single toilet that seemed to be shared by several rooms, and to get to the showers you had to walk through the in-house bar.
At the supermarket I bought a frozen pizza for dinner and some beer. I cooked the pizza in the surprisingly well-stocked kitchen. There was a TV in there and lots of people, but a large group of Aussies seemed to have taken over the only table and without any remaining seats it would’ve been difficult to join their group. So despite warnings from a sign on the door leading into the courtyard, I took my beer into my room and drank a couple before crashing from exhaustion.