Peter Stuifzand

Traveling is fun

Sunday I returned from my nine day long trip through Europe. This is one big lie, because Europe is bigger than just Brussels, Paris and some parts of the Netherlands.

Still, such a trip can be a fun thing to do. I had a few to do it, so its not that big of a problem. Still I like to make a bigger trip next year. Still trough Europe, but a few more weeks and a few more countries.

My travels started on saterday and involved a trip to Brussels. I had found the address of a hostel on the internet. Because I hadn’t booked a room, it was a bit of a surprise what would happen. The hostel was booked, so I had to find another one. This wasn’t much of a problem, because now I was armed with a little map with the addresses of three new hostels.

The second hostel I arrived at, had a room for me for the night. So this was going to be great. In this hostel I got a double room. When I arrived there an African man was sitting on one bed. A few minutes later when I had made up made bed another man arrived there. I wondered about this thing. Three people in room for two. Later when one of them told, that they both were going to sleep there, I wondered a bit more and left see some things of Brussels.

The hostel was actually quite close to all kinds of things, has a nice breakfast and a nice bar, with a nice bartender. At the bar I met a French girl, who is an account manager for Microsoft in Dublin. We talked for a few hours.

The thing I like the most about travelling, is meeting people. Most travellers have at least a few interesting things to say.

When I went to sleep, only one of the two guys was sleeping in the bed. The next morning when I woke I noticed that the second of the two guys was sleeping in the bed (but not until the breakfast, when both of them were going to the breakfast one at the time and they both greeted me).

The thing that I didn’t like about this hostel was that I had to leave the next morning. There were no free beds for that day, but that is a thing you can expect when you don’t book in advance. So I walked on to the next one.

This was the third hostel I would go to during this trip. The hostel was about fiveteen minutes away from the second one and is called Sleep Well. The location is really good; about ten minutes from the North Station and fiveteen minutes from the city centre.

Because I wanted to stay about three in Brussels I had booked a room for two nights. The first night cost EUR 28,- because it was a single room. The second cost EUR 13,- because it was the second night and was a six bed dorm.

I parted with a few of my clothes, put in a nice plastic bag at the reception desk, so I didn’t have to take so much clothes with me all the time. I had only one bag me (an Eastpak Delegate, color: Mojito), which was all I needed. The bag has a zipper, which when opened will increase the size to 22 litres. Which was enough to carry everything I needed. Two shirts, one pair of trousers, a few socks and things, my camera, a towel, my hawaii blouse and a bit of food. This would make for a big bag, but at the hostels I would drop of the unneccesary things.

I made a little trip trough Brussels on my second day, took a look at some monuments, the Grand Place, a few stores and sat for a while on the Grand Place, reading a newly bought magazine. After reading the magazine I met a girl from St. Petersburg, who was in Brussels for a daytrip from The Netherlands. We walked through Brussels and saw some more of the city. We spend the rest of the afternoon together after which she took the train back to the Netherlands, which is another story in itself.

After this I returned to the hostel to take over my room. It was a single room so I could try me best at trying to wash my clothes. Washing clothes with just water and letting them dry in the middle of the night in closed room will not bring out the proper result. The clothes smelled even worse, so much for that. I had to find another way to get my clothes clean.

The next morning I had to leave this room again and go to another one, which wouldn’t open until three o’clock (the same as in most hostels). So I went into Brussel again and because it was monday, some more shops were open. While walking back to the hostel I bought a guidebook for Paris, to find a hostel on tuesday and two other books, Mostly Harmless (part five of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy) and Monkey (which I haven’t started to read yet).

So this afternoon I had some more time to kill. As a try to fix the smell problem of my clothes I tried to dry the things in the sun in the backyard of the hostel. This worked a bit, but it wasn’t as good as I wanted.

Sometime later I went to the North Station to get a reservation for the Thalys to Paris. This costs an extra EUR 11,- on top of the price for the Interrail card that I bought. There is also another route which only costs EUR 3, but takes three hours instead of one hour and a halve. The queue for the international counter was only three people long, so it didn’t take as long as the retour would be going to take.

That afternoon when I got to my room, I met a guy from California. We bought some beers and talked a bit about surfing and music. Meanwhile I had to work a bit on my clothes which were in the washing machine of the hostel. The stuff became clean and dry and could be used to were again. The thing was that the two shirts that I bought for EUR 4,- a piece shrank a bit. This was actually quite nice, because they were a bit big.

When I returned from the dryer with my dry clothes I met two Canadians and three Dutch girls, who were talking in the bar of the hostel. Most of the people I met, including these Canadians and the Californian where going to Bruges, Amsterdam or both.

Brussel is not big enough to always use the subway. The things I went to were almost always close enough to go there by foot.

After the breakfast, which consisted of bread, cornflakes, juice and some coffee, I went to the north station, to take my train to Paris. In the train to Paris I met three Belgian girls. They were going to Paris for about seven or eight days. The nicest thing about this was that they already had booked a hostel. I asked if I could with them, and so we went to that hostel.

The hostel (Auberge de Jeunesse Leo-Lagrange, near subway station Mairy the Clichy) had a little sign on the reception desk that said that they were booked for the night. I was already a bit scared that I had to find another place (it already was 15:00 or something), so that could become a problem. I knew I couldn’t leave before asking for a room, and when I did I could get a room for two nights. So why the sign was I don’t know, but at least it was a strange.

The first night was a bit strange because my room was inhabited by two Brazilian guys who didn’t speak much English at first.

Later that night when I was sitting in the bar resting a bit and about to start reading the Mostly Harmless book, three Canadians asked if I wanted to join them, eating some of the noodles they made. It was quite good (and contained no meat) so that was great.

© 2023 Peter Stuifzand