Back in Brussels

30 July – 01 August 2010

Having exhausted myself in Bruges I really deserved a quality Belgian beer. That evening in Delirium bar I met up with Norbu and his friend (also from Denmark) and we sat with a couple of other solo travellers; an Ausi who had done the Trans Siberian railway and recommended Prague to me and a Californian called Antonio. Antonio proved to be a walking beer encyclopaedia and a great person to be drinking Belgian beers with. I really cannot emphasise enough how much I enjoyed chilling out in this bar and meeting new people while drinking fantastic Belgian beer.

The following day I had grand plans involving seeing all the major sights in Brussels, however I didn’t manage to make quite as early a start as I would have liked. I did manage to walk some cool streets and I ran into a street parade.

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Normally if I encounter a shopping mall while exploring somewhere I promptly head the other direction but a sports shop compelled me to take a look. They apparently had a mega sale on, later that night in Delirium bar I was informed that Belgium has two major sales a year, the biggest of which is held on the 31st of July! Despite myself I ended up purchasing a new pair of shoes, a new day bag and an outdoors jacket all for the equivalent of what I would normally pay for a pair of shoes in New Zealand. But the choices had not been easy and I was emotionally and physically drained after so much shopping so I headed back to the hostel for a shower before heading to Delirium for some serious Belgian beer tasting.

That night in Delirium bar I met some French Canadians and it was while chatting with them that the oddest ‘small world’ experience happened to me. Occasionally something happens and you can’t quite believe it, there is no point wondering what the ‘odds’ of it happening are; you just know it’s unlikely. Well while chatting with these guys from Montreal a girl came up to me asking if she knew me from somewhere, I didn’t recognise her but she said I looked ‘strangely familiar’. She was from Bristol in England so I first wondered if she knew me from when I lived or had visited England, but this proved not to be the case. When she found out I was from New Zealand she asked if I knew a girl called Alida, her cousin who had moved to New Zealand. We eventually figured out that we had been on the same ski trip during my first year at University (her holiday to NZ to visit her cousin). So boys and girls back in New Zealand, you know who you are; can you believe I ran into Amy, Alida’s cousin in a bar in Belgium?

After this cool encounter the night continued on with fantastic beer, new people and a late night encounter with a lavender bush.

The following day was the 1st of August and I was due at a hostel in Antwerp, however as I hadn’t quite accomplished all the sightseeing I wanted to do in Brussels I stored my bags and did a massive walk/train/tram trip around the sights. I visited the European Union buildings, the war museum and finally saw the famous statue of a pissing kid ‘Manneken Pis’.

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