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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Belgian Chocolate

BELGIUM | Wednesday, 19 March 2008 | Views [1214]

Today was one of my better days in Europe. I awoke at about 9:00 after finally getting a good night's rest. I washed up and Paul and I made pancakes with walnuts. We're making pancakes in a country that's known for its waffles. Bogdan wasn't feeling all that well, but he decided he was going into work. I still wasn't sure if I was going to stay another night. Paul told me about an internet cafe up the street that was only 1 euro per hour. Bogdan left for work and Paul and I decided to head out for the day. He also told me about a place where I could get a good view of the whole city. I cycled around for awhile and I saw an internet cafe, but I couldn't take my bike inside and I had forgotten my lock at Bogdan's apartment. So, I rode around some more taken in the sight of some of the most amazing buildings I've ever seen. Brussels really is a beautiful city! I spotted another internet cafe and I went in there and used the computer. I emailed everyone and let them know that my trip is going better today than it has. The internet cafe was probably cheaper because it was in one of Brussels' ethnic neighborhoods. Since there are telephones at this place, I then gave Dad a call and told him that I was trying to find a way to get to Germany to see my sister, Ashley. In Peru, these types of places are called a locutorio, but I'm not sure what they're called here. I rode around for awhile and got a photo with a little tiny care that must go at least 100 miles to the gallon. Brussels is abound with chocolate shops and I was taking in the scent and sight. I visited Godiva Chocolatier and sampled some of the chocolate they had to offer and then got a cup of authentic Godiva hot cocoa. Belgium has perhaps the best chocolate in the world, and Brussels is filled with chocolatiers. Even last night when I was searching for Bogdan's house I smelled the scent of Belgian sweets in the air. I then stopped at McDonald's for lunch. I've been eating mostly McDonald's because it's one of the cheapest things to eat out here. In places like Peru and Costa Rica, I'll never eat McDonald's. Unlike Amsterdam, Brussels is a hilly city, so it's a bit more challenging to ride a bicycle. There aren't nearly as many bicycles as there are in Amsterdam, but you still see more than back home. Many of the streets are cobblestone; also making cycling a bit tougher. I stopped to photograph the beautiful city hall with its unique tower. Continuing on I saw someone knock over a rack of postcards at one of the shops. I got off my bicycle and helped pick up the cards. The little things to help others during my travels really count, and it makes me feel good. Later on, I stopped to find out how much a train ticket is to Wurzburg, Germany. It turned out to be more than 100 euros, so I thought I'd come back later. I'd see if there's a bus that would get me there for cheaper. I stopped at this one place to try to exchange some money, but their computers were down. At that place, I was seeing signs for flights to various African destinations, including Kinshasa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a former Belgian colony, and is the only country in Africa that was under Belgian rule. I sure would love to go there someday and stay with the locals. In fact, one of my dreams is to serve in the Peace Corps someday; I could do humanitarian work while visiting countries like the Congo and others that I would imagine that I wouldn't get to. As I was at the exchange place, I kept thinking that it probably would have been better to get to Germany today, but it was looking like that I'd have to wait until tomorrow. I cycled around looking for an agent that could possibly get me a bus ticket to Germany, but it wasn't looking good. It was cold out but I just kept cycling around, and I went back to Bogdan's house at 4:15. He wasn't feeling well, and that made it even nicer of him to host us. Paul had to be on his way, but I got his MySpace so we could keep in contact. At 6:00, I headed out to try to get a cheap bus ticket to Germany. I felt even colder because I had forgotten my raincoat. At the bus station, I found out there were no buses to Wurzburg, so I had to get the train ticket. I wish I hadn't have left without a Eurail pass, but you can't buy them in Europe. If I were here long enough, I could order it online, get it sent to my home, and then have Dad send it to me, but it would take like a week or more for it to get here so it's not worth it for really short trips. I got the train ticket and then tried to find a good place to eat. I was feeling upset because of all the money I've been spending. I've spent more here in four days than I did in an entire month in Peru. Breaking my camera upped the costs substantially, as have train and bus tickets. I ended up getting McDonald's for dinner even though I was tired of it. A cup of hot cocoa really kept me warm. At 8:30 I cycled back to Bogdan's house. I'm staying there again tonight. I gave Mom a call and checked my email and all that. Afterward I took a long shower to unwind after another great day. Anyways I'm going to go to sleep. I'll see you in Germany tomorrow!

Tags: culture, food, people

 

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