Thursday, January 11, 2007

El Vergel and a day spent in Brussels

Wednesday in Brussels was rather delicious ...

Shannon and I met at Centraal Station in Brussels and wandered off to find a cafe. My bag was bulging with English teaching resources I had collected while teaching in Istanbul and so over coffee and croissant, we talked of which online English courses she could do, moving on to resources and brainstorming ideas for private teaching in Belgium.

It was all fun and has definately inspired me to advertise for a few students in my neighbourhood here ...

One of the things I most enjoy about living in different countries is meeting the people. Teaching English is a lovely way to get out there and talking with people.

Alison arrived and we travelled on to a restaurant that is fast becoming my favourite place to eat over in Brussels. El Vergel always has fabulous food, the staff are lovely, there's a good atmosphere and the prices are good.

The rains came down but the American, the Canadian and the Kiwi talked on, almost oblivious to the weather outside. It was good to catch up with them and we only left when the lunch chairs were being stacked on the tables around us.

Shannon led us further into the back streets where heavy rain drove us into a cosy pub with the most appalling red wine I've attempted to drink in years. Both Shannon and I gave up in the end, Alison soldiered on with her slightly better bio red.

Then there was the 'getting home' which turned into one of 'those' experiences.
I was lucky, the Belgian student of politics on the bus was kind when I asked her about where the Centraal Station stop might be. The bus I was on had steamy windows and it was getting dark fast as I rode back through the city to my train. I know Antwerpen well but am less certain sure of my way around Brussels.

She was an interesting woman and had travelled through places like Vietnam and Nepal. Station found, I arrived just in time to catch the 5.10pm back to Antwerpen.

I thought I was on a 4 stop train however ... 5 stops into the journey I realised that, once again, steamy windows and darkness were going to cause problems with identifying which stop was mine.

And I had boarded a packed commuter train ... I was amused when a guy pushed his way onto what I had imagined was a 2-person train seat, squeezing himself in between an older gentleman and a young woman. I was tempted to look round for the Candid Camera camera because his behaviour reminded me so much of a Mr Bean skit. It was all I could do not to laugh aloud.

The laughter soon turned to accomodation, as a well-dressed business woman squeezed in between me and the guy I was sitting next to. Ahhh, so this is how one finds a seat on packed commuter trains.

The train kept on stopping so I called Gert and he looked up the train schedule ... telling me how many stops until my stop, only trying to put me off one stop too early. Things did improve as the train emptied out, the window steam cleared and if I watched carefully, I could read the lit station signs as they sped by.

Home and in bed reading by 8.30pm ... just for a few minutes. I woke briefly at midnight and it was 4.30am when I realised here was no more sleep left inside of me. I climbed out of bed and came to the computer to read for a while. I was lucky, there were some lovely emails and comments waiting here on the computer.

Buika is quietly singing in the background and I haven't suffered too much. Let's see how the day goes.

Good morning greetings to all those who read this at the appropriate time ... a new day has begun.


Anonymous said...

Aww... good morning :) The day looks incredibly beautiful from here as well though I stayed in bed a bit longer than you did (but I was awake for hours). It's a good time to get up and read something inspirational however. Peace.

Manic said...

8.20 am, not my idea of appropriate but yea, you know. I didn't even know it rained yesterday, too busy ay. You should attempt becoming a teacher again, I'm sure someone will love to beoome a Kiwi.

woman wandering said...

Hi Kim, I still wasn't sure what today would bring weather-wise ... now that it's light, it's looking like grey skies, rain and wind.

But like you, I do enjoy the peace of the early hour :) and I think I've had enough sleep to survive all of today.

Hey Manic, bigger congratulations on passing your examination ... now I know what a 'buisvak' is!

And yes, I'm sure so many people want to have 'G'day mate!' flow off their tongue fluently, or even a little Australian 'By crickey!'. I can tidy my accent up though, so we'll see how it goes.

christina said...

Gosh, I was wide awake at about 3:30 a.m. I should have mailed you. :-)

Hope you enjoy your day. No beautiful day here, I'm afraid, at least not outside. Hurricane force winds and endless rain. Oh well. I have more than enough to do inside to keep me occupied.

woman wandering said...

You should have mailed me Christina :)

No beautiful day here and I do believe we might be sharing the strong winds, although no rain as I write this.

I was off to the city to buy a couple of small bags of nice tea and then had to wonder what I was thinking ... the shop should still be there tomorrow.