An interlude in the capital of Europe...
My choice was a wait, from 08.25 - 16.45, in l'aeroport de Bruxelles or, be brave, assume transport wouldn't fail and I'd be mobile enough with big bag on back, to enjoy a wander into the city!
By the time I landed in Brux I'd already been awake for 26 solid hours (and "on the road" since 01.45 the previous night/that morn, in time for my 02.30 bus to Bristol airport from Cardiff). I had overcome the tiredness for the moment and seemed to be carried along on a wave of excitement and energy of the hyper-elated kind.
So I forked over 17 euro for a return on the train into the centre!
I had to use the (free) Bozar toilets to change from my damp/chilly weather British clothes to a summery continental dress (and urinate), afore freshening up and heading out into the city sun!
I don't know what the population is, and, it was just a sunny Thursday, still, aside from Grand Place (which is kind of disgustingly crowded), the city was kinda quiet. Wandering the backstreets I barely saw anyone. There was a boy behind a church cleaning brass, and a handsome lady with an earnest smile, apart from that, it was a really peaceful, solitary day...
[I forgot, almost as soon as I got out of the gare Central, the light being so beautiful and the spirit of impending adventure strong that I took a photograph on a bulky film DSLR. While I was taking it these two janitors were passing. One of them, a kind-looking black fella around my age stopped to ask in French (thank goodness, I can't speak any Dutch!) how come I'd taken a photo of a vacant shop's window. I cheekily said I was an artist and laughed.
He asked me if I lived in the city, I said that, malheureusement I did not and I was only there for maybe 5 hours!
Cinq heures?! Incroyable he replied.
I said yes, but that I'd been before and it was quite a city, I then, predictably, apologised for my rubbish French skills - to which he said; "pas problem cherie, moi aussi je ne peut pas parle bien de Francais, mais nous comprenons mutuellement dans cette langue , c'est bon".
Et, ouai, c'est bon. Yes, yes it is]
I didn't allow myself too long a stop in a musee or the bibliotheek or the Taschen bookshop or any of the other lovely bookshops in the Galeries, too many beautiful (and expensive to own) words and images out there guys, nice to glance upon though.
Wander wander, coffee in the Workshop cafe on rue de Namur (I needed caffeine, and Wi-fi of course, FYI, beautiful barista there!). Wander, wander, pee in library (WC), wander, Kriek and homemade sandwiches in the parc (Egyptian geese!).
Languid wander back to the gare, Earl Grey en route before proceeding on my journey north to the airport...
Then we take Berlin...