Brussels, Belgium First Night (day 3)

Posted by Fico , Thursday, May 26, 2011 9:39 PM

Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it won't get you anywhere ~ Van Wilder


This is the very first time i went to place that i known a little. We know Paris in Indonesia we talk about it a lot. But Brussels-Belgium?? No..i don't know the president, i don't know the flag... what do i know about this city/country?? i browse it AFTER i book my bus ticket from Paris while i was still in Indonesia. Belgium is so small! Sumatra island is much bigger than the whole country it self!
So tips from me after traveling there, go to the neighbourhood cities beside Brussels.. especially Brugge the 2nd Venice in Europe... they said its worth the visit, and i found this after the 2nd day in Brussels!

First impression about Brussel I got while I was still in Eurolines bus. It’s a smaller town compare to Paris. The roads are smaller, and somehow there are more people with lighter hair color than darker. The street are mixed between the aspal and cobble rocks. Its had its own character I think. Somehow i think i see more blonde here... errhhhh... ok.. this is interesting.

When I was arrive its around 7.45pm at Gare du Midi/Zuidstation station. I was thinking to stop here because it’s a middle train station (well that’s my best translation!). The train station is so big that I got lost! I try to find the “METRO” system. I could understand the France language.. its just the same like in Paris whenever I try to “vous parlais anglais?” they will say “non” and kept talking in French while I will talk in English… once again I was “lost in translation”.

The language they use in Belgium is French and Dutch. So, all of the street signs and directions are in both languages, French and Dutch. But I don’t mind. It’s kind of great to hear this mix. Indonesia back then was colonialism by Dutch, for over 300 years. But too bad we don’t speak Dutch! (even Mr T ask me why i am not speaking Dutch??errh i don't know..because they dont even allow Indonesian to STUDY and learn READING??) back then only people who work with Dutch govt who given the opportunity to learn and study in School. My family roots never like Dutch hahahah! so we dont speak dutch (i think back then they also consider anyone who speak Dutch as traitor!)

Again the cultural mixed here, blend into the city life. The buildings, people, and foods are so various. I like the town in between, it’s like standing in gray area. It’s richer with the twist!

My first mission after finding the Metro train station is try to understand how it work!! I had the map on my ipod so I know what direction I should ride in.

Ok, it’s a different system than Paris, the ticket machine (it’s called “GO”) almost the same. But this time I had coins so, I get 5 jump/ride pass for 7.30 Euro. The ticket just made of thick paper, with size of ATM card. Kind of remind me the train ticket card to go to Sentosa Island in Singapore. For other choice of tickets you could see at this website/STIB.

I pick the 5 trip because theres no way I would want to use day ticket because its 8pm and I was exhausted and really need sleep! It’s the 4th day since my traveling, so I guess the jetlag still there but I kept pushing myself… and yah.. hahah I just want to sleep early!

Don’t lose the ticket! You will need to validate it in a yellow box machine on the entrance. Hehe don’t play fool here folks, there plenty security at the train station, so better not forget to validate the card because they did check it randomly.

With this ticket actually you could use it/mix it with bus or tram ride. So it’s very efficient! Also you could book the ticket online, but I am not so sure how this work. I prefer to do it at the train station. And no queue like in Paris, so no worry! 

But of course for the comparison between bus, tram and metro, my fave ride is the metro because it’s the fastest. In Brussels there are 4 metro lines and 2 tram lines, so you don’t have to squeeze in like in Paris. It’s a small city once again, and plenty transport choice.

Also I do notice that it’s very friendly to wheelchair. I like it, because I think it’s fair enough!

When I am waiting for the train, I made mistake reading the sign, that I go to the other way instead to the direction that I should go (hehehe). I just laugh at myself because its silly! Especially when you’re dragging a huge purple luggage.

From Garde du Midi I take the direction to Simonis-Elizabeth, its 7 train stop to the Botanique/Kruidtuin. In the train I met with a boy with a very friendly smile. He works in one of chocolate shop in Brussels. We talk quite a bit. He kept saying Brussels is very good and safe.. haha ok! we talk abit about tourism in Brussels and its nice to know new people here, his name is Max..thats sound European.

When he needs to go down we did something ackward, as he said good bye, when i give him my hand to shake he pullm e instead to kiss my cheek and hug, errrhh i froze and i could feel my face warm, i bet i blush, and he the same as must be could feel i feel shock hahah! ok.. this is how they said good bye.. ok..thanks God my body alarm not set to "on" hahah so i wont slap him hahah! i wash blushing so much that i could only grin! (its not our culture!!)

I stay in Van Gogh Youth Hostel. Yep, it’s the famous painter. He once live there… uhmmm.. ok its very nice actually, I’ve seen the pictures of the hostel from internet. I take the mixed dorm room, the cheapest one for 18 euro per night plus you got breakfast. They also had shared kitchen that you could use.

I brought some food from Indonesia. I gave some of the food for my first host in Paris. He went to Indonesia before, so I bet he like the peanut paste for gado-gado, the mixed veggies salad… plus the pasta could be used as sate, the barbeque in stick also Indonesia food.

Check in at the hostel they said they’re full. But then I show them my booking mail, lucky I print out everything. I said I booked the room, and I got the mail. She then ask me to fill up the form, hand out my passport—they had rule some people over 35 not allowed to stay at  the hostel unless it’s a group.
I look around the lobby, there are plenty students, maybe its like a tour. They speak in Germany and some in Dutch.

I got my room key, and getting to the room i see, wow... there are asian, but hahah why they look not friendly?? errh.. never mind. Get into my room... oh my.. this is the most WEIRD bunk bed. I got the 2nd/top bunk...but...WHY THERE IS NO STAIRS?? how the heck i get up there??

Its actually not that hard for me as i like climbing. Im quite a pro since kids as my house fence is 3 meters high!!(and i escape most of time! hehe) I put my luggage on the wall.... and then i use it as a step to get to the top, and i try to jump from top.. wow... this is quite high!!! boys and girls do not try this at home!! hahaha!
 It was 9.30 and i decide to get some hot shower. I already told about the electric power as bad side at this hostel. But hey... dont call me McFika gyver.... heheh.. so with towel and my toilletries i walk through the hostel. I found some places where i could actually recharge my stuff.

At kitchen, at common room, also near lobby. After that i went downstair near the pool table, the shower kind of reminds me of swimming pool shower!
The smell and the cubicles hahaha! i see another plugs there, and the toilet you could close the door. So i took shower and recharge my cellphone and ipod!! finish shower i feel sleepy. Get my self a noodle cup and eat it quick at kitchen, everyone still talking and drinking beer. Its hell of crowd. I like it. But none try to speak with me just the guys look and stare and ....why they feel shy?? i am the only one who had brown skin... and it feels good once again!! hehehe (feel like a cougar in rooster cages hohohohoh). I had to remind my self most of guys in here prob much younger than me!! haha 

I just try to understand what they talk about, i could hear some english, buyt very little, mostly french, and dutch also germany.

After brushing my teeth i get back to my dorm and use my eye mask and EAR PLUGS. There are two girls get in and said they want to g o to party and there are 3 guys, they seemed like arguing wether there are people in 3 beds that they want to stay in. I look at them, without saying anything as i already on my bed, using my sleeping gears... they short of saying sorry.. hey.. i try to get some sleep here!!!

Tomorrow more about Brussels and more pictures for sure!!

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