After a great Christmas in southern France, I was headed to Brussels, via Luxembourg, to meet up with Lucas and Cassia, and stay with Valentine. Lucas and Cassia both study with me in Deggendorf and Valentine is a girl that Lucas and I met this summer while in Edinburgh, Scotland. I arrived in Luxembourg and waited for Lucas and Cassia-- who were coming from Germany. With all the snow storms, their train connections were delayed and our time in Luxembourg was cut short. A planned visit to the German and American cemeteries in Luxembourg was swapped out for a simply a photo with the Christmas tree outside the Luxembourg train station. We hopped on another train and made our way to Brussels.
In Brussels we met Valentine and she warningly opened her home to us for the few days. During the day Valentine had to work however Lucas, Cassia and I spent that time exploring the city. Brussels is a “small Big City” and we were able to walk through most parts of the city. The whole time we were trying to find the famous “Belgium Balls” as I liked to call it. They were these reflective balls formed together in the shape of an atom that I had see previously in an online film and knew they were in Brussels.
Eventually we found the “Belgium Balls” and discovered that they are an Exploratorium in which visitors can actually travel up inside the balls and look out over the city. The day was cloudy and the prices where I so we opted not to go up inside but certainly took plenty of photos from the outside. Funny enough, the metro line to get to these “Balls” was titled something that looked remarkable close to “Simmons”. I should have known they marked the subway system out for my visit!!
Belgium is also very famous for their waffles and the peeing baby statue called Manican Piss. We found manican piss but the statue proved to be very small and uninteresting. What was more exciting happened to be the giant chocolate replicas around the site standing outside waffle vendor shops.
In the evening after Valentine was finished with work all 4 of us explored the local Christmas market. There they had set up a giant Farris wheel and we decided to enjoy a ride. It gave a great view of the city at night and had to have been the first Farris wheel ride I have ridden since I was about 8 years old a the local county fair!
While staying at Valentine's, Lucas and I did our best effort to prepare a meal for everyone. Really I should give us some more credit because nearly a year now of practice cooking for ourselves in Germany has taught us some good skills. However, the next night we found a Brazilian restaurant and Cassia, Lucas and I took Valentine (who was actually born in Brazil!) out to eat. It was also my first time eating authentic Brazilian food!
Some plans were changed and we ended up spending New Years with Valentine and her friends in Brussels. Some of her friends came over to her house and we drank and then went up to the rooftop for the countdown to midnight. Unfortunately, the night was quite foggy but it was really great to be near the city center and hearing/seeing fireworks going off in all directions around you.
After enjoying the fireworks some of us went out to a club in town. By the time we got there the cashier was so drunk or so out of it that I simply walked in free. Good thing since the entrance was a ridiculous 16 euros or something. They should’ve put the sober ones on the entrance!
The night came to an end late the next morning. We made our way home by subway and went to bed. Lucas and Cassia didn’t go out as they boarded a 10 am train to Copenhagen, Denmark. I slept in and had breakfast with Valentine as my train back to Deggendorf was not until 2pm. However, after I said my goodbyes and made my way to the metro to go to the train station, I ran into a ticket machine that only accepted coins and 5 and 10 euro bills. I was 60 cents short in change and only had bills in multiples of 20’s. I begged for someone to change my money but no one could. So after 15 minutes of failing to change money I was too late to make my train. In that case, I ended up going back to Valentines for one more day and taking the next train home the following day.
We had a nice evening at the house, cooked a meal together and then I made it home easy the next day without any train issues. On the international train from Brussels to Frankfurt the workers were all German however spoke French. It was a really cool situation where I could use any of my three languages to communicate with them. I chose French as they checked my tickets : )
This ended my last trip after nearly year of literally traveling all over the continent of Europe- while of course studying at the German University! I will post one more blog update as a closing piece of my time in Europe. It will include a sum-up of baseball, show more of the beautiful city of Deggendorf, my day trip to go skiing and my final going away party. Thank you all my family and friends who have taken interest into my blog. It has been a fun piece for me to fill out as I’ve gone along my journey here and hopefully you have enjoyed it too.
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