Start of the last week! On Monday I had agreed to meet up with a friend who didn’t really know what to see in Brussels. She’s having a foreign friend over in a few weeks, so she wanted to know a thing or two to see and say in our capital. The same thing as last Tuesday occurred: I forgot my phone! Who could I forget my phone twice in one week?! When I arrived, I first checked at our meeting spot, but I was almost half an hour late so I guessed she might have gone searching for me elsewhere. I went straight to my WiFi spot from last week, and could fortunately contact her that way. I’m so lucky my friends have an internet plan for their phones! It turned out she took the wrong train, and would be there later than me anyway. In the end we could meet at the station, only about 40 minutes later than we would have if everything had gone right. After finally eating lunch, it was already 2 pm by that time, I showed her around. The usual: St. Hubert Royal Galeries, Rue de Boucher, Jeanneke Pis, the Stock Exchange, the Grand Place with the City Hall and other interesting buildings, Manneken Pis, the Royal Palace, the view from the Palace of Justice.
On our way back from the Palace of Justice, we rested at some park called “Sculpture Park”, and while chatting with my friend a girl came up to us. She asked how she could get to a coffee shop or other (cheap) place with WiFi and where she could just hang around for a bit. The only places we could think of were Starbucks or McDonald’s, but the former isn’t really cheap and the latter isn’t such a great place to hang around. But we offered to show her these places anyway, and on our way there we asked her where she was from and the usual questions you ask a backpacker or any other tourist.
It turned out she had to wait for a few hours until her friends arrived, so we proposed to show her around in Brussels in the meantime. We went to the same places as I had just shown my friend, and she was delighted to have two locals showing her around. Not that we’re so familiar with Brussels ourselves, but we did our best. When we stood in front of Jeanneke Pis, she almost cried of laughter; “Is this real?! Are you serious?!” Yeah, we don’t know why it’s real either. 😉 Suddenly someone tapped on her shoulder, it turned out to be an old classmate of hers. Such a coincidence. How often do you meet people you know in a foreign country?! And next to Jeanneke Pis, a statue not many tourists know about… It was really funny in any case.
We showed her some other places and helped her out a bit, and then it was time to leave. My friend and I had a great time showing her around, and it was a good way to spend our afternoon in Brussels. When we visit Portugal (the backpacker was from that southern country), she’ll show us around in exchange. Thanks for a good day, Joana!
On Tuesday the 21st, our National Holiday, I didn’t have much to do. I visited my sister’s again to hang out with the kids a last time before saying goodbye. They’re such cute kids! We watched a bit of the Military Parade, held on the National Holiday every year, which was live on TV. In the evening I was supposed to meet up with an old friend, but we postponed it to Wednesday in the end.
Yesterday, I went to Brussels again. Yes, again! My friends ask me if I don’t get tired of going to Brussels after going there pretty much every day in the past week, but I’m not bothered. I go there to meet up with friends, different friends every time. Every visit is different, so why not? This time, I finally saw my friend from Liege again. We met in Korea, last year in January, and we hadn’t seen each other since. We live in the same tiny country and still we hadn’t met up earlier. Such a shame! We had a great time, though we didn’t do much. I showed her Jeanneke Pis as well, since it was one of the only things she hadn’t seen yet in Brussels. Then I told her there was a Korea Centre in Brussels, so there we went. It wasn’t much, but surprisingly, there was an extensive library. In Belgium, you won’t find such a thing easily. Finding resources about other countries (in their languages) or restaurants from a specific country is really difficult, so I was surprised to find such a ‘big’ library there. After that I showed her the view from the Palace of Justice, one other thing she didn’t know about yet. It was about time for lunch and we were getting hungry, so I told her about the eateries down the elevator from the Square of the Palace of Justice. We had a good lunch, and I’ll certainly remember the place for a next time. After lunch, we decided to rest at the Brussels Park. Suddenly, we were hungry for ice cream and again, it was decided to have the cold dessert at McDonald’s. Another McFlurry Oreo Caramel for me, and for her a McFlurry Oreo Raspberry. Oh, and we also wanted free WiFi, that’s why: McDonald’s. 😉 After we finished our ice cream, it was time to go home. We promised it wouldn’t be so long until we meet again before separating.
Visiting Bruges today! I might post another story of Bruges tomorrow, if I still find the time to write it. Otherwise my next post will be from Tokyo, leaving Friday morning. I’M SO EXCITED!