Tuesday, October 28, 2008
'Paddy' from brazil showed me to my room where there was an old, black grand piano where he started banging out rock and roll and blues tunes singing along at the top of his voice! That was a nice welcome to Antwerp. Although I was really tired I went for a walk around. Everyone staying at this hostel were really friendly folks, one little guy like to put an adjective with each item we had the 'suicide stairs' (quite rightly named) and the 'platform shower'. The stairs here were suicidal indeed 2 people fell down while I was having breakfast! The problem is they are narrow steps almost vertical, quite difficult with your backpack or after few beers but as I was so overtired I just found them hilarious. There was a great music and singing session at the hostel that night, I didn’t sleep much so decided to stay another night.....this night I would try and have an early one!!
After a battery-recharging stay in Antwerpe i hopped on the bus to Amsterdam how exciting!!
I sat on the steps of a building facing the main square and people watched while I waited for Wim the couchsurfer guy for tonight to get in touch. I noticed that the young local people were all like supermodels but the old ones where like an egg on legs, both men and women had beards...what happened??
By the time I met Wim I had lost the last of my energy, I was so happy not to be checking into a hostel but rather Wims really lovely house just on the outskirts of Bruges. Wim absolutely loves his really cool job of making exhibitions for example if you wanted something supercool for your nightclub opening he could make a crazy ice sculpture exhibition, design amazing lighting, furniture etc there’s nothing he cant try to create but most importantly he must stay at the party all night ...for work purposes of course! Wim cracked open a delicious bottle of red wine and we had a great chat, Wim explained he had a bit of a problem with crashing cars, and i was just waaaaay too embarassed to get into the banger he had right now, so we walked to a cool tourist-free bar somewhere in Bruges. More wine, wine and some more wine and I realised I had only eaten a waffle all day (i’m addicted!) so we had a little food, then more wine. While Wim had to get up at teh crack of dawn the next day I had a glorious bath wow heaven! Huge bathroom, sun was shining in and a great view of the river...from the bath! Ah yes this is the backpacker life I could become accustomed to. (thanks Wim!!)
Anyway must move on, Antwerp next stop
The next day I check in to Van Gough hostel in Brussels...wow like a hotel! I threw my bag into the locker and went to explore and eat. I had the most delicious fresh bread, olives, cheese and another waffle yum! I went to the music museum and from the top floor you have a great view of the city and it was a lovely sunny evening.
I walked around for another 4 hours or so until it was time to head to another couchsurfers house for dinner and drinks. Dorien is a reporter and just back from Israel where her and her friends, while in a detention centre being questioned, had to pretend they were beach bimbos to get into the country to do their reporting. The food was a little on the unpalatable side but we had so many chimay bleus that it didn’t matter after a while, we got some great 'girl chat' in it was like we had been friends for years. We went for a wander around Brussels, many of the building walls are covered with comic book paintings, the guy who created the Tin Tin comics was from Belgium, it really brightened up some dodgy areas. We stumbled (literally!) into a really cool art exhibition, trying not to knock it down the alcohol made the images even more effective. In the pub that night I had a conversation with a really drunk guy with just answering 'ah ya!', 'ya!', 'ya?', 'yaaaa' (yes in Dutch!) funny, silly.
I arrived back at the hostel circa 4am was handed my sheets for the bed which it was compulsory to pay E4 for, so although I was drunk and really overtired god damn I was making my bed! I had been allocated the worst bed in the house, top bunk, couldn’t find the ladder, damn I left my bag in the locker at reception, too tired, just made a little toga outfit kind of climbed onto the table then the closest bed then very ungracefully swung myself up onto the my bunk, then superman dived into the bed, asleep before my head hit the pillow....the cleaner came in then at 9am time to check out!
Like a zombie I headed for Bruges, couchsurfing again this night i'm sure ill get some sleep in then
Since I’ve come back life has been great, I surrounded myself with positive people, got out more, said Yes more, did some voluntary things and turned my hobby into a really enjoyable, paid job.
Unfortunately the travel bug has bitten BAD and I must leave behind my great job, great friends, family, boyfriend and bike... (yes, we spent a lot of time together!!) I’ts too early for me to settle down yet my goodness! Please do keep in touch and if it all gets too much come visit me somewhere!