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Tom’s European Vacation (Part 2): Belgium to Vienna…

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

After an interesting time in Paris it seemed rude not to continue on my way by train – so, with my trustee haversack on my back I set off for the Gare du Nord once more to catch a train to onward to Belgium where I had booked myself into some hostel or another (only about £15 a night). The DSC01866wonders of the internet – global travel without having to talk to anyone. (Surely not the point, I hear you say – but far more interesting to slip through without any real luggage and see how the locals treat you).

Belgium can be summed up very quickly:

  • Mussels & Beer
  • Chocolates
  • Lovely Square and back streets
  • Small boy peeing
  • …more Mussels and Beer…
    For some reason everywhere I went just looked better in sepia – as if I had gone back in time to the 40’s. Only spent a few days here – but on the whole it seemed like a pretty cool place to live. Chain stores were at a minimum and houses and bars lined streets in equal number making one feel that you really were in the midst of a town that hadn’t been planned by corporations but had organically (and at times chaotically) grown up over time.
    Frankfurt

    A couple of days here was enough for me otherwise my belly would have grown to the size of a baby elephant – onwards…  to,  hmmmm – looking at the train station destinations I was somewhat perplexed as to which way to go next. Vienna caught my eye so I tried that.

    I took a ‘sleeper’ to Vienna with my own cabin, which was decidedly comfortable, it also afforded me 4 hours to fill in Frankfurt. A bonus, a chance to see Frankfurt by night, perhaps. It was about 8pm when I arrived and I was due to leave before midnight so I grabbed some noodles, scoffed them down and was ready to explore. (By the way, Frankfurt station food is bloody good).
    Needless to say the same things apply in Frankfurt as they do in Paris – except more so. If it’s daytime when you arrive, there looks to be a lovely park a short taxi ride to the South of the station – check on Bing maps if you like. On the other hand if you just want to stretch your legs and know nothing about where you are or where you’re going, you can simply walk straight out of the station doors and across the street. You’ll find yourself in a very strange world of sex shops and bars within about two blocks of the place (pushpin in the North East). I didn’t stay long, retreating to the station in fear of being dragged into another bar (first time that’s happened). If you want details of the embarrassing conversation I had as I came to terms with the situation in which I found myself, ask me in person.

Back to the train, pronto, as they say… and onward to Vienna.

Weirdest moment: Hearing the words, “What would you like” and not knowing whether I was being offered a drink.

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