A Travellerspoint blog

Belgium

Getting excited!


View Namibia - 2017 on Ils1976's travel map.

All Souls' Day, what a day to wake up to. Although not particularly known as a holiday here in Belgium unlike All Saints Day, for once I am so lucky that I can sleep in. By the time it is 8 AM, I decide to get up and make things ready for an amazing journey to come and as soon as I got my tummy filled with delicious food, I say goodbye to my parents and hit the road or to be more precise, the train coz a little after 12 o'clock I have a meet up with the best travel buddy there is in the whole wide world, Tania.

I guess we can set time on each other coz we were almost at the same time at the agreed place and after a cup of hot tea and saying our goodbyes to Tania's parents, it is time to take the train towards Schiphol.

Sadly enough we aren't going to leave today. Technically our holiday starts tomorrow, but when you are traveling to such a cool place like Amsterdam, you know you have to be at the scene a little bit earlier and since Tania still needed to visit a hotel in the neighborhood of Damrak, we knew we were in for a great afternoon.

As soon as we arrived in Schiphol, we dropped of our luggage at the hotel and onwards we went to the center of Amsterdam. I don't know why, but even when it is grey and gloomy, the city has something special. It always makes me smile, maybe the "medicinal herbs" have something to do with it ... who knows!?

3 PM in the afternoon sounds still early but as it was starting to get dark, the both of us hurried to the hotel, where we got a friendly welcome from the hotel owner. He quickly guided us through several floors and rooms and although you might say that it is your typical hotel, its visitors need to be in great shape coz there is no elevator in the building, only small and steep stairs ... it is something different that's for sure.

Saying our goodbyes to the staff of the hotel, it was back on the street again and finally we could really start enjoying our beginning of our holiday and the best way to do that is by shopping! In our case it was more window shopping than anything else since we couldn't bring much with us, but that doesn't mean we couldn't have a bit of fun gazing at all the beautiful things that were for sale!

At 6 PM, we were getting a little bit hungry and just like last year, we went for a Mexican dinner. Only this time we tried out something what looked like a tourist trap for sure. Maybe it was and I have to admit it wasn't the best food we had eaten, but we had a great time and we had a nice talk with our neighbors, an older Indian couple from the States. All in all it was a more than memorable evening and I guess the dessert at the "Golden Arches" across our hotel at Schiphol had something to do with that as well.

By the time it was almost midnight we closed our eyes coz tomorrow morning we had an early start and I was so looking forward to that. Africa is still a continent that is so new to me and besides a few trips to Egypt, I don't really feel that I have seen much of this continent, but knowing me I am sure more trips are going to follow!

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Belgium Comments (2)

back home again


View Namibia - 2017 on Ils1976's travel map.

For some reason I slept quite good on this flight. I first thought it was going to be a nightmare, but somehow during the flight I managed to sleep just a little bit, which is a good thing in my book.

The stewardesses woke me up for breakfast and although I usually don't have so much appetite, this time around, I asked for a cracker and some cheese to eat. Believe it or not, that is much when I am flying. Usually I stick to my cup of oatmeal I bring along from home, but since the flight was nice, I thought of doing something weird and I went for breakfast!

With still about 2 hours in flight, I went for a movie to watch and before we knew it, Schiphol came in sight.

I don't exactly know what happened, but the landing went smooth, for some reason we were the lucky ones to go straight out of the plane in mere minutes. Customs was no hassle at all at 5.15 AM in the morning and upon arrival at the baggage belt, our luggage was already waiting for us.
The both of us didn't hesitate one bit, we grabbed our bags and made a run for it straight to the train station. It seemed we both had the same thing on our mind ... going home as quickly as possible.

Upon our arrival at the train station a few minutes before 6 AM, we suddenly noticed the international train to Antwerp was cancelled. No reason was given and there was no-one to be found to give us an explanation. What the heck was going on here, coz it was the only one cancelled ??? We were a bit puzzled about the whole thing.

After running around for a few minutes, we suddenly saw a desk with someone behind it and as we asked what was going on, the person said not to worry too much. The next international train at 7.06 was going to leave for sure and we just needed to relax and go for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

Easier said than done to be honest coz at 6 AM in the morning, nothing much isn't opened, not even Starbucks!
We were walking for more than 15 minutes when suddenly we noticed a small supermarket opening up shop. We both ran for it and went through the racks to see what was on offer and in the end we went for a cup of oatmeal which was instant, but tasted really good so early in the morning.

It must have been almost half an hour later when we went back to the train station only to notice that our train home was once again cancelled. This was just too weird to be true and although we were thinking of calling our relatives to come and pick us up, it was still 7 AM in the morning, we didn't want to wake them up and be all worried, so instead we went to another office that was opened and asked what was going on!

Just as an hour before, it seemed we didn't needed to worry to much. Not much was going according to that person. We could easily wait for another hour and take the next train back to Belgium. Yeah right ... not 2 times!

We were thinking of taking the Thalys back home, but the price of the ticket was huge, so instead we asked for the first train in the direction of the Belgium border and jumped on it about 10 minutes later.

All warm and comfy, we were en route to Roosendaal, where we arrived about an hour later but sadly enough we had to wait for another hour because guess what, the international train that would have left Schiphol at 8 AM was cancelled as well!

Not amused at all, but glad we took this train, we waited out our troubles in a nearby hotel, which had a wonderful breakfast for offer. It seemed we did nothing else but waiting for trains and eating this morning, but in a way it made the time go faster and before we knew it, we were on the slow train to Berchem, where we arrived almost an hour later.

On the train towards Belgium, a conductor came along and when we outed our troubles to him, he just replied that major works were going on at the track and therefore they cancelled all the international trains till 10 AM to Belgium.

WHAT THE HECK!!??

Of course there is nothing you can do about it, but is it that hard to give a little bit of information to paying customers. I can probably go on and on about all of the things that go wrong in our oh so modern society, but I guess that is not all that good for my health ... but still, how wrong can this be!?
It must have been a little later than 10 AM when we finally arrived in Berchem and as I said goodbye to my best friend and travel buddy, I had to do the last leg of the travel all by myself.

As usual they were also working on my track towards my hometown, so instead of going by train, I had to take a bus and another train ... this was really traveling in my own country, that's for sure!

By the time it was 12 AM I was back at home. Strangely to know that it took almost 6 hours to go from Schiphol to my home using public transportation. When going with a car it is only 2 hours and still the government promotes using public transport ... I must admit that I really have to think about that one on my next holiday!

I was just so glad to see my family again that all the misery of the morning just flowed away ... it was just that good to see a friendly and familiar face.
Although we had a few fun weeks and I must say that I loved every minute of it, I was glad to see my relatives again.

Africa really delivered and I am already looking forward to my next visit, whenever that will be, but one thing is for sure ... AFRICA, I'LL BE BACK!!!

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Belgium Comments (2)

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