Friday, November 19, 2010

On To Antwerpen

Departing Brussels Airport.

Of course I spent my day in Brussels by going to Antwerpen.

But that wasn't until I finally convinced myself to climb out of bed and get cracking. Afterall, it was nearly two in the afternoon!

The problem with travel is this jet lag. I'm tired and just want to sleep, but if I sleep all day then I won't sleep at night, which compounds problems later. The gamble is that I will sleep on the ten hour flight to Africa, but it's very difficult for me to sleep on a plane and that could easily translate into 48 hours without sleeping. Not good.

In reality, the options are at my feet. I've got eighteen hours to do whatever I please. I could go to Paris. Or find Brussels best frites. Or their best moules. Or maybe speak at the European Union Headquarters. Whatever I desire lies at my feet.

Therefore, I'm off to Antwerpen where Rouki has urged me to visit Kenny, the Belgian Barista Champion who owns a restaurant wine bar there. I'm game to try good food and see how a barista has envisioned a restaurant, so I'm off to the train stations and the commute north.

The Europe of My Mind's Eye.

As the train cruises through north Brussels, I see the Europe of my mind's eye. This is the Europe I imagined in 1987. Worn, tired, overcast and grey. This part of the city looks drab and dreary. This is how I imagined Europe during the Cold War. There is no sun. Just the even grey of overcast clouds. It's dour but not quite depressing. I regret not visiting Europe during high school to compare that world to our world today.

Waiting at Brussels Noord station.

e travel to Antwerpen is relatively easy. This is train travel of Europeans. €9,40 takes you all the way from Brussels Airport to Antwerpen, with a train transfer at Brussels Noord. About fifteen minutes from Antwerpen, I'm busted for sitting in the wrong train car. Turns out I'm sitting in the plush comfort of First Class when all I have is a lowly Second Class ticket. The conductor could charge me more but decides to let me move to the proper car. I had no idea.

Antwerp Centraal Station.

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