Be sure to read: Brussels Bound to get into my head while I was in transit from Paris to Brussels!
Leaving Paris behind made me sad, but I was still excited to be in Brussels to keep this momentum going. I could feel the excitement on the horizon. Upon arriving in Brussels, it wasn’t Paris, to say the least.
Once I got off the train and I was on the platform, I found it very confusing to find my way to where I needed to be. It was quiet and I couldn’t even locate a worker to get directed on the right path. Finally, I found a bus that agreed to take me to where I needed to go.
Immediately what I noticed was how Brussels had no cohesiveness when it came to the architecture throughout the city. It was like a jigsaw of every potential architectural possibility. It was quirky and eccentric and an ethnic melting pot. The roads did not seem like one would want to drive on them and frankly, I do not know how Brussels manages to know where everyone is going and what lanes are what.
A few times we got dangerously close to other vehicles and I literally stopped breathing until we made it through safely. The driver did well on his promise, he told me when to get off the bus. When I got off he directed me to another bus line that I just missed. Walking over to the stop, I was greeted with this view:
I finally found my way to the hostel, and I felt very anxious. I was on my own for the rest of the trip. I worried that would be very true and I wouldn’t find anyone to do travel along the way. I was geeking out over the fact that the hostel was a workshop for Van Gogh, he did work there for a little over a year. The culture was screaming at me at every corner in Europe and I love the depth of the history. It excited me. Learning is everything and experiencing it first-hand makes it so much more fun.
After settling into the hostel, I decided to shake my nerves and go explore to get excited about this city and what all may come. The beautiful possibilities is why I was on this trip. Hungry, I decided to find somewhere to eat. I walked aimlessly and got cat-called every other block, and every other block in between people gawked. I felt uncomfortable and wondered why people were being so intrusive. Was I doing something wrong? I had no clue. I double back to the hostel to try and decided to eat some pizza when it was all said and done.
I went back and took a nap to get ready for whatever I decided to do that evening. Waking up, I had to run to the ATM for some EUROS at the closest METRO. It wasn’t too far. On the way back I saw a group of three homeless men sitting on some steps outside a building and what they were doing shocked me. Earlier they were whistling at me across the road. Now, they were sitting feet away from me not caring I was passing by. What were they doing? They had a needle, and as I walked by the guy stuck it in his arm and injected whatever was in the needle.
This freaked me out, I have never seen needles outside of movies and vaccines in real life. I quietly walked past and as soon as I reached the corner of the building, I bolted straight down the street to my hostel. I was so close to something that truly scared me to the core.
Worries dove deep into my mind:
Should I be here? Is it worth it? Is the worry legit? Maybe I should just go to the next leg and skip this city…
I wondered what I should do. I panicked at the “what if I chose wrong.” What I decided to do next, if you know me, is completely out of character. I went straight to my hostel and sat at the bar where I had the bartender select a Belgium Beer for me to drink. BEER. I hate beer, at least in America I did. Here in Europe, when in Belgium, drink beer. That is what I decided to do, and you know what? It was delicious! I liked it.
A guy sat next to me and began talking. He was from Argentina and we spoke for a while before he invited me to go to Delirium Ally for more drinking and fun. I obliged and we walked twenty minutes into the center of Brussels to go to this apparent “best place to drink in Brussels” kind of bar.
You know you were getting close because you could hear the noise of a crowd of people being joyous. When we got there, it was a dead-end ally full of bars and full of people. Delirium Ally:
I met so many people that night, we all drank together and ended up going outside the the alley where the party was and a breeze. That is when I ran into more people from the United States. They were from Houston. I thought to myself, such a small world. The drinking continued. Two Canadians came up to the group, they heard all of our English. We all hit it off so well and had so much freaking fun!
The Canadian Couple offered to walk me safely to my hostel before going back to theirs. They did, and I and I am sure my mom is grateful for their generosity. I am for the walk home to ensure I made it. I decided that maybe Brussels isn’t all bad and I should go try a walking tour in the morning to learn about this city.