Part four marks the first changeover of our holiday. After four days in Amsterdam we moved onto Brussels. Unfortunately, at this point four of our mates had to go home. Mr. Snooze and our Tall Friend (did I mention he’s 6’4”?) both had holidays booked with their respective Missus’ and had to get home before the thumbprints on their foreheads wore away. With them went Mr. Landscape and the Early Bird, who also lacked valid excuses, but at least we’d get a lie-in now.
With one last stop at our local, the waffle shop next door, we had an emotional hug goodbye complete with the arbitrary three pats on the back to make it manly. Given the horror of driving into the city, leaving Amsterdam was surprisingly easy, or perhaps the chaos had just become normal. A quick stop for petrol and lunch allowed everyone to make themselves more comfortable, except for our DJ who decided he was fine and then spent the rest of the journey cross-legged, you know, like a child does.
Brussels was a beautiful city to drive into, down by the river, on a tree-lined avenue which would have been lovely if it wasn’t for the cobbled street which left me with concussion and ruined my navigator’s time-lapse (I don’t know what was worse!) At the hostel we were split into a five and a three and put into six-berth rooms, meaning we had roommates. I was in the smaller group and after basic detective work (noticing pink suitcases and airport tags) we decided we were sharing with two American girls and a Swedish girl: the gloating began, because our friends, on the other hand, had a middle-aged English bloke. Regardless of the fact that the Swede turned out to be Canadian and the Americans unsocial and Spanish, I’d still say we won.
Our first real encounter with Brussels was unspectacular, a rainy Tuesday afternoon meant quiet streets as we searched for the city centre. That night, however, would change our opinions. Heading towards an Irish pub, we began our evening. Nice as it was though, we fancied a club. So, we asked the barman, an old Irish guy, looked like a leprechaun after a breakdown, for directions:
“You want a place with hard dance music or a place to dance with girls?” Unprepared for the euro-rave scene we opted for the latter.
“Oh you want to head for the red light district then!” Absolutely not what we said mate.
“Careful though, there’s a little woman behind the counter as you walk in and if you mess with her girls she will put a bullet in you.” Right, brilliant.
Not that we had any intention of going there, or messing with her girls, or even introducing ourselves to her girls. We’re more of a “hi do you come here often?” take her home to meet your mother kind of group.
Finally, however, he sent us somewhere we’d enjoy, and bloody hell was it good.
To be continued…