Belgian Beer

I am delighted to report I have survived my first FOUR (can barely believe it myself) nights in a hostel, which now makes me a fully fledged travelling pro. No?

I managed to get the bottom bunk in both hostels (wahey) but this fortune was instrumental in the 157 bangs to the head I have suffered thus far (not so yay). The showers proved better than I was expecting, and with my trusty flip flops on foot (complimentary from Dormy House Hotel, obviously) I can confirm I have stayed clean and smelling fresh all week. (Except today, as I forgot to take my towel – apologies in advance to the people of Antwerp (next stop).) The only slight hiccup was on the first morning, during my post-first-pre-breakfast-run-in-Belgium shower. I couldn’t detach my brand spanking new travelling watch (rose gold, digital display, H&M) from my wrist (which I think was faulty in the first place as it required a pair of pliers to put on back in the motherland (with the mother). (She can vouch for the palaver.) So after spending 10 minutes in the shower cubicle in nothing but my secret bum bag (I can’t remember what the term is but not at all crude), breaking my fingernails like New Years resolutions on February 1st trying to get the ruddy watch off my wrist, I decided: enough is enough. This watch was not going to stop me getting my free breakfast, the time limit for which was rapidly decreasing. So I had my first one-handed shower, with my left arm outstretched throughout to protect my beautiful and infuriating watch from the spray. The following day was hair-wash day, which definitely requires a two-handed shower. As painful as it was, as attached we had become, as elegantly it told the time; Mr Watch had to go, and we haven’t spoken since.

Other notable disasters include: trying to pay with a 10 kuna (Croatian currency) note for drinks in a bar on my first night in Ghent (very much in the Eurozone). It took me a good 30 seconds to realise why the barman was a real-life boomerang video, eyes flicking from me to the money, me to the money, with one eyebrow fiercely raised. Another was while eating a money-saving supermarket dinner in my dorm room on my first night in Bruges. Bread, houmous, cheese, red wine…what more could one want? A mixed pot of olives, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella balls – belissimo! That was until I had my first ball of mozzarella…which turned out to be a whole clove of GARLIC. Eughehgh. (That one’s for you, dad.) The third and final mishap mis-happened just last night. All week I have been droning on about getting (sorry father – having) moules frites. And last night – my final night in Bruges – was going to be THE night. I researched online (obvi) “where does the best moules frites in Bruges?”. After some deliberation I settled on Poules Moules. Poules Moules! So we got dressed up, strolled into the city and arrived at said moules joint. Unbeknown to us (and the lack of watch did NOT help), it was 10pm already and Poules Moules were serving no more. Distaster! We then trekked round the ENTIRE city (I was in heels) to find every single restaurant was closed (even McDonald’s, which, yes, we did try). Thankfully someone was looking over us (who goes by the name of Siri) and we managed to find a relatively busy bistro on the corner of the main square. And what was their special of the day? Moules Frites! Thank f*ck for that.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the point. Other than the aforementioned travesties, my time in Belgium so far has been beer, beer and a little more beer. A beer flavoured Belgian chocolate (incredible), a beer tasting with a twee-looking long-bearded kind of elf man (interesting) and generally just getting on the beers son (init).

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The Adventure Begins

Slight anti-climax when I got to my allocated seat on the Eurostar (coach 14, seat 11 – in case you were wondering (and I would recommend)) with the realisation of no onboard WiFi (not one of the ‘new and refurbished trains’ to my despair). How could I write my first legitimate interrailing post with no onboard WiFi? I was (and am) outraged! Spent the first hour or so eating my lunch (M&S Food, naturally) (didn’t take the whole hour) and embarked upon the one book I had remembered to download pre-departure. What a bloody relief. Thus far have read the first two chapters, which (for those who know me well) is nothing short of miraculous.

Then. I had a brainwave. (I mean you don’t survive one third of an arts degree without this kind of creative thinking.) I could type now and post later. Genius!

I thought I would be a quivering wreck with mascara down my face and a runny nose when I said goodbye to my lovely mother (Moo Moo) at St Pancras. (I thought she might be too.) But, after our swift half at the station’s champagne bar we were verging on the tipsy side of excited and I was raring to go! After our long-awaited farewell hug and a photo of me going through security (always a photo opportunity) I was on my way.

And now I’m sat (still in coach 14, seat 11) on the Eurostar on my way to Brussels and then onto Ghent. I’m excited to see Belgium for the first time and can’t wait for my first Belgian beer. I wonder who I will be ‘cheers’ing (or even what cheers is in French / Flemmish)?! Really must do my research before my next stop…

That’s the end of the first rambling you’ll be devastated to hear. It’s 14:52 UK time as a type, who knows when I will post…Au Revoir!