Saturday, March 11, 2006

Fate ... ?

An odd thing happened today.
Debbie and I caught the 9.43am train to Bruges ... two guys sat next to us and we both noticed the one next to me because there was something almost familar about him, despite the fact that we didn't exchange more than a few words on the hour and twenty minute trip west. He and a large group left our train at Gent.

We wandered in Bruges, missed trains that we could have caught at 3.03 and 5.03pm ... doubling back after time spent in De Stoepa to visit the Hospital of Saint John, we ended up catching the 6.03pm train home to Antwerpen.

We had 4 facing seats to ourselves but noticed the train filling up fast when we reached Gent and so we shifted our bags. I looked up and saw him ... the guy from the morning. I smiled, he greeted me, I asked 'how he was', using Nederlands in my best 1.2 manner, as he and his sister sat down next to us.

It was lovely ... a second chance at talking to someone I'd regretted not knowing. He told us he was named after 'the English Prince ... pausing for dramatic effect he added, 'Charles'. And we all laughed when I introduced myself as Di.

We talked all the way home but later, over a traditional Stoofvlees and frieten dinner by Gert, we realised how odd it was that he had ended up on our carriage ... there were at least 8 others to choose from; other times too and if you know anything about life in Belgie, you'll know that you can't choose your carriage, you can only rush for a seat.

Before saying goodbye again, we all laughed about meeting next time I'm heading to Bruges ... and so it goes that I'll know to look out for a lovely 60+ Belgian man who goes by the name of Charles.

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