Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hasta la vista, Europe

The time I spent in Berlin was awesome but had to come to an end. I kept meeting people. The weather wasn’t so bad, it wasn’t that cold, nothing I couldn’t handle anyway. Even though it was my third time in Berlin, I still went to places I have never been before.
I met with old friends. I met new friends. It was just something else.
The date of my flight was getting closer so I decided to leave Berlin a week earlier so that way I will have the time to visit all the people I wanted to visit.
First stop was Utrecht, to visit my brother Edy. This was my fourth time in Utrecht. This time I also met with Dorus, a guy I met last year when I was living in Prague. He was starting his RTW trip which finished last june. We met again almost exactly a year after we met for the first time.
Then I left for Belgium. This was my fifth time in the land of Speculoos. I was in the Quick Burger near the Central Station without a place to sleep when I ran into Kat in the facebook chat. She told me that Wim was on the way to Hasselt and that I was welcome to stay with them in Zonhoven. It was getting dark but still I managed to get a ride quite easy all the way to Hasselt. A weird ride: George told me I was a dog because I didn’t know the meaning of my name. I don’t even know if my name has a meaning. Anyway, I was having a great dinner with even greater company. Kat’s parents even spoke Spanish!
We went to a party in Brussel the next day and since we didn’t find a place to sleep that night we just stayed up all night. Alright, I took a power nap in a theater where we had some good food. Hitchhiking at night works in Belgium, not so on a Sunday morning at 5. We ended up taking a “free” bus to Leuven and started hitchhiking from there. Made it to Zonhoven around 10.
I’m never going to hitch with my Converse shoes. I should have learnt the lesson I was taught in Utrecht but I didn’t. My right foot was in pain. It hurt a lot. So when I left Zonhoven going to Antwerpen I wore the other shoes. Leaving Hasselt was easy. First ride to a petrol station on the motorway. Second ride, Johan drove right infront of Daniel’s flat. I asked him “do you often pick up hitchhikers?”, “no, but you seemed nice, you have a friendly face and you were polite”.
I was again in Antwerpen, this time I had a place to stay. I crash Daniel’s flat. I met him last year when I had no place to crash in Antwerpen (I’m starting to see a trend here…). He hosted Seung-Ho, Jess and me. This time I met his lovely daughters. We played this board game which I don’t remember the name but it was really cool.
The first time I left Antwerpen going to Gent it was super easy. I didn’t even waited for 5 minutes and  I was already on my way to Gent with this Belgian rock band: Mintzkov. This time, a little bit different. It took me two rides. I was dropped off in the same place where Mintzkov took me the year prior.
Been to Gent before so I decided to relax. I met a CSer, Elke. We had a lovely afternoon drinking tea by one of the canals. Then I met with my friend Vanessa. The last time I saw her was last year, in july. I didn’t see her when I was in town in February, she left me the keys to her flat while she was traveling. I was lucky, this time she was there. Lovely way to spend my last days in Europe.
Time to get to the airport. I thought I was going to have to take the train because it was raining, a lot I may add and no one was picking me up while I was thumbing (when was not raining, that much). Finally, after about two hours (in total I think I stood thumbing around 40 minutes, the rest of the time I was taking cover from the rain!) I found what I think it’s going to be my last ride in a Mercedes for a while. All the way to Brussel. Then a bus to the airport.
Travel tip: if you’re leaving Brussel by plane, instead of taking the train which is I think 7€ for a 15 minute ride, why not take the bus? Yeah, it takes 3 times longer but it cost about 4 times less: 1,80€. Go to Noord Station (Gare du Nord) and take bus 272 going to Zaventem Luchthaven.

Hasta la vista Europe, until next time.

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