Tag Archives: brussels

Brussels, Belgium – April 28, 2013

My original plans for Brussels were:  Get Starbucks, check into my hotel, go to the Atomium, come back and have a nice quiet night in my room to recover  from Groezrock.  Then I could fully start the vacation portion of this trip well rested.

Yesterday, I had taken my camera out to use it for the first time this trip.  I discover that the LCD screen on my camera was cracked.  Are you kidding me?   We can probably assume this happened during the flight of death with the SCREAMING kid.   Oh, did you miss that rant?  Here you go.

But I will take the blame for this one.  It is the second time I have done this.  The last time was just in September.  So this seems to be new recurring problem in my life.  Hello idiot, buy a camera case.  So I now have to buy a new camera.  Oh how I did not want to do this at all.   I don’t like buying anything without insane amounts of research.  I don’t like spending money on new things when I can fix the old things for under ten bucks. I don’t even want a new camera at all.  I LOVE my camera. This was going to be a very painful purchase.

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So anyway, I woke up in Geel, packed my stuff and made my way to Brussels Centrale.   Then I attempt to go to my hotel, which is an eight minute walk according to Google.  Well remember, I clearly do not know how to read a map.  So an hour later, I end up in a cab that is completely ripping me off but I no longer care.  10 euro.  The best part is that once I get here, I notice two things.  One:  I was in this exact spot last year, lost.  Two: The casino that I was looking for last year (and never found) is across the street from my hotel.  Half a block away, I see the spot where I had given up trying.

So now I have “LEARN HOW TO READ A MAP YOU MORON” underneath “BUY A CAMERA CASE YOU IDIOT” on my list of things to do.

I check in.  I asked the woman at reception where I could go and get a camera.   Oh.  Everything is closed on Sundays.  You don’t say.  I decide to go out for a bit.  I am no longer going to the Atomium because I do not want to do this without a camera.  It is not like I am never going to be back.  I will likely be in Belgium at least once a year, every year until I die.  Since I am never going to die, I will have plenty of chances in the future.

I manage to find a shop that is open and charges me way too much for a crappy camera.  Much like the taxi, I am more than happy to overpay for it.  I go back to my room and play with it.  It starts causing me grief right off the bat.  It keeps telling me to format memory cards.  I have five, including the brand new one I bought with the camera JUST IN CASE something went wrong with my American purchased cards.  It keeps asking me to format them.  I keep telling it to go for it.  It keeps ignoring me and telling me to format them.  I feel like I am talking to one of the many idiots at my job who make me want to travel forever so that I do not ever again have to  know a life where they exist.

I finally get everything sorted out and I am done for now.  I am going to bed.  At 4:00 in the afternoon, on my vacation that I waited so long to be on.  Yes, yes I am.  You can’t stop me.  I’d like to see you try.

I woke up around 7:00 pm and really wanted to stay in bed until morning.  I have not had any real sleep since arriving here and I arrived exhausted.  I force myself to get up and at the very least  go find the tram station so I am not running around like a maniac tomorrow morning looking for it.

I am back in bed around 10.  Tomorrow is now the new official start of my vacation.  I will take Thalys to Paris.

You might note that despite having bought a new camera during this post, I don’t have any pictures to post.  Well you are wrong.  See?  Two obligatory casino pictures coming your way.

casino, Brussels, BelgiumVersailles casino, Brussels, Belgium

 

Brussels: Belgium and Geel

 

After working a full day, I went straight from my job to JFK Airport and boarded a flight to Brussels.   I had a layover in Dublin.   I arrived in Brussels at 9:25 am on April 27, 2012.  I don’t sleep on planes, I have never been able to.  When I landed, I had been up a number of hours I was way too exhausted to do the math for.  Also bonus: when I landed, the clock on my phone was an hour behind.  I have no idea why.  Someone suggested it was because of daylight savings time.  Well don’t phones get the time from a satellite or something?  It was so frustrating because I was so exhausted.  I could not figure out how to manually do the time.  I didn’t want to change the time to another time zone to get it to appear right because what if it auto corrected?  Then I wouldn’t know and was looking at some other country’s time zone.  I have so many trains to catch this trip.  I need to know what time it is!  I am so tired please god please AH YES I FIGURED OUT HOW TO MANUALLY DO THE TIME YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAHHHHHHHHHH.

So despite having my first meltdown before even leaving the airport, I wanted to see some of Brussels.  I collected my luggage, got my passport stamped, took a train to Brussels Centrale and ditched my luggage in a locker.  I was really happy I had Euro coins with me leftover from my last trip so I didn’t have to scrounge for change to do this.

Did I mention I was exhausted?  All I wanted was a large iced coffee.  Everywhere I went, that’s all I could focus on, never got it.

I walked around Brussels a bit and took pictures.  Most of them ended up not coming out. I can see the thumbnails but I get an error when I open them.  We like to call this “act like it’s not happening”.

Brussels has a casino that I could not find for the life of me (this is probably best).   I was able to find Mannekin Pis though, so that was good.

mannekin pis

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Walking around Brussels felt like walking inside of a movie set.  One minute you are walking down a small street, the next you are in this enormous courtyard of beautiful buildings.   I realize that most of Europe is like that.  But this was my first “walking around on my own” experience in Europe ever so it hit me really hard.

After I got to the point where it was clear I could not stand up any longer, I went and fetched my bag to hop a train to Geel.  I would be staying here for the next three nights to attend Groezrock Fest in Meerhout.

At the time I was in line to buy my train ticket, I can recall my patience wearing very thin when my train was almost leaving and the person in front of me on line was taking forfuckingeverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at the window.  Looking back, I have no idea why I didn’t just buy a ticket on the train.  Being that I have taken this line before, I know for a fact you can do that.  Perhaps if I had been awake enough to do this, I would have had time to stop at the Starbucks I spotted as I was running to my train.  Hours searching for iced coffee, there is a Starbucks right where I started.  God damn it.

My “home” hotel in Geel.  I love this place.

corbie geel

Rooms come with a free minibar, which has BEER, wine, water, soda, iced tea, different kinds of fruit juices and a chocolate crisp bar.  Did I mention FREE?

The rooms also have really sweet balconies.  Here’s the views I had this time.

balcony

balcony viewbalcony view 1

So pretty!

Geel has a town square right outside my hotel.  It’s so quaint.

geel square, belgium

geel square, belgium

geel square, belgium

geel square, belgium

I tried to stay awake until it was at least dark outside, so as to not wake up at six am.  Well I didn’t manage to stay awake, and I ended up getting woken up at six am by a text anyway.

Ahhhhhhhhh BED!!

corbie bed