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How I survived Brussels

Last week, I was on a school trip to Brussels, Belgium. And it was... quite the adventure. Yeah, I guess you could say that. ^^

The first problem appeared already before the voyage started: We had booked rooms in a youth hostel for the week, but exactly this youth hostel burned down some weeks before the trip. Luckily, we were able to find another youth hostel. Still, we should have known that this was a bad sign...

The first obstacle was the arrival in Brussels. We had planned to travel with the train from Hannover to Deventer, from Deventer to Rotterdam and from Rotterdam to Brussels (weird route, isn't it?). So we had to switch trains two times. In Deventer, all went well - but in Rotterdam, we found out that our train was cancelled. Even worse, we were informed that no other train went to Brussels anymore this day. After two hours of Hopes and Fears at the train station, we found out that we could take a train to Roosendaal and from there another train to Brussels.

When we finally arrived in Brussels - we were four hours later than planned, and we were all tired and stressed - , the next shock hit us: the youth hostel was terrible. There was mildew everywhere in the rooms, the beds were dirty, many things were broken, we didn't even have proper wardrobes and I had the luck that the chamber where I was going to sleep smelled terribly of cigarette smoke. Well, at least the rumour that the showers were supposed to be cold was not true. But still, we decided that we wouldn't stay here longer than one night.

Fortunately, we were able to find another youth hostel, so we checked in there already the next day.

Another disaster happened wednesday night. I shared my room with three other girls and in the middle of the night, two of them woke me up anxiously because our fourth room mate was shaking and throwing up again and again. Obviously, she had an alcohol poisoning. We decided to not wait any longer and called two of our teachers. They called the ambulance immediately who arrived quickly and took the sick girl with them. Of course, one teacher accompanied her, but the other one looked into the other rooms to make sure that noone else had drunk alcohol last night because this was forbidden – but unfortunately, she found several bottles of alcohol. The next morning, the girl from the hospital was back, but she had to be sent home – together with many other girls and boys who had drunk alcohol, too. I still don't know if they will all be expelled from school, which would be really crappy because this is our last school year.

Anyway, apart from these unpleasant incidents, I experienced also many positive things. I saw the wonderful old buildings in Brussels (many of them were gothic), including the amazing Grande Place that I found really impressive, and many beautiful catholic churches. I visited the European Parliament, the NATO military Headquarters (where we had a really good meal, too! :D ), the Magritte museum, the Mini Europe Parc (it's really worth seeing as well!) and the famous Atomium.

Besides, I can tell you now that the chocolate and the waffles in Brussels are really good (but very expensive too, like everything there), whereas you should avoid chips there. Yes, I know, Brussels is famous for its chips – but they really aren't that good.

Another thing that Belgium is famous for are comics. That's why you can see various comic-inspired, colourful images on the walls of many houses there. There's also a comic- and manga-museum right at the Central Station (the „Gare Centrale“) but regrettably, I didn't have time to visit it. Besides, it was really expensive.

Something that I found really funny and cool in Brussels was that every advertisement, poster, receipt and price tag was bilingual: dutch and french. But most Belgians speak English too, and some even speak German. So you can basically go there and find your way no matter what language you speak.

For example, I saw many japanese tourists there (the typical ones with their cameras grown to their hands who are always on the way in large groups, chattering happily away and taking pictures of each other in front of every old building ;D), but also many, many, MANY scottish people. No matter where we went, there were men in kilts everywhere. As far as I know, there was a soccer game or something. I bet I saw even more Scotsmen than Belgians! Well, in the beginning, it was still funny (when we exited the Central Station in Brussels, some Scotsmen accompanied us and played their bagpipes xD), but after a while, I couldn't stand to see any kilts anymore. I don't know why, they were just annoying me. Fortunately, after the soccer game was over, all the Scotsmen disappeared from Brussels again. Phew!

So, that was my journey in a nutshell. Believe it or not, but I really enjoyed myself despite the negative aspects of the trip and had much fun. Our return to Germany went nicely by the way – we had only eight minutes delay! It was almost scary, haha.^^

Oh, and one more funny thing I'd like to tell you: One evening, a boy went to a gas station to use the toilet there – and returned to us totally traumatized because an obiously gay man had tried to flirt with him on the toilet and wanted to drink a beer with him. Poor boy! XD So yeah, there were some funny moments, too. ;D

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
pyreflysky
Oct. 21st, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a very interesting trip!
I'm sorry your friend got alcohol poisoning, that must have been horrible.

I'm glad the rest of the trip was good! I'd really like to try one of their chocolate waffles! Where was your favorite place to visit?
awieatti
Oct. 24th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
It was indeed horrible. I felt totally overstrained! I mean, I never go to parties, that's why I'm not used to drunk people throwing up. I didn't know what to do - thank God there were still my two other room mates!

If you ever have the opportunity to eat belgian waffles, you should definitely go for it! I had waffles with cream and chocolate sauce when we ate at the NATO Headquarters - verrrry delicious!

I think my favorite place was the NATO because they had good food there (two women in soldiers uniforms even sold muffins and cake xD).
Just kidding. I think my favorite place was the Grande Place - the old buildings there were really beautiful, with gildings and embellishings and so on. There were many chocolate shops too. And it was totally normal to sit down on the cobblestones in the middle of the Grande Place and have a picnic; that was quite cool as well. :D
brit_columbia
Oct. 24th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC)
Man, that was so interesting to read! I've never been to Brussels, but my sister used to live there. I didn't get around to visiting her until she had moved on to Germany.

You and your classmates will laugh about this trip for years to come!
awieatti
Oct. 24th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, so your sister lives in Germany now? That's interesting, in which city does she live? She should teach you German, than we could write to each other in German, too, haha. (No better not, German is a terrible language. >.<)

Definitely! xD I feel so sorry for the girl who had to leave earlier because she was sick - she missed all the fun! ^^
brit_columbia
Oct. 25th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
My sister used to teach Rnglish at Berlitz in Frankfurt many years ago. When I visited her, I attended one of her classes. She was a fun English teacher and her students loved her. I'm sure she would be a great German teacher!

My ex tried to teach me German but it didn't work out because he was too bossy. Boyfriends and girlfriends, and also husbands and wives should never try to teach each other anything.

Yes, poor sick girl. I hope she's much more careful in the future. Her parents must have been so mad.
brit_columbia
Oct. 25th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
I meant 'English'! I'm such a crappy typist.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )