Today was the first day of my one month-long journey through Europe. And what better place to start than the capital of Europe – Brussels. At roughly 16:00 I arrived at station Bruxelles-Midi after changing the train in Cologne.
Brussels is a city of many languages. Every street sign has a name in French and one in Flemish. Most loudspeaker announcements are in French, Flemish and English. If I approach someone for help, its always a gamble as I don’t really speak French and many French-speaking people here don’t speak English (at least in my limited perception).
Today I learned a valuable lesson: If you are planning to stay in a foreign city, book a hostel as soon as you arrive, even if you want to explore the city first. After walking 2km to the hostel of my choice I picked up from Open Street Maps spontaneously, I got rejected as they were already fully booked. They kindly referred me to another hostel which supposedly had large dorm rooms, surely there should be a free bed for me. After walking for another 2km however, I found a paper sign on the door, stating that the hostel was closed due to Covid. Damn.
So I sat down and searched all available hostels from Open Street Maps and browsed through their web sites. Most of them unfortunately were already booked out. Eventually I found another hostel another 1.5km away, which I could successfully call by phone to reserve a bed before walking there. Lucky me.
Now my feet and legs and hips are hurting and I believe I have to reconfigure my backpack a bit to make it more comfortable to wear for longer periods. But all in all this is a great start in my opinion. Now I will take a bit of rest and then head out for a nice Belgian beer. Greetings to the “We miss FOSDEM and drink lots of beer”-Crew. I will drink one on you 😉