Ich bitte dich, das ist doch lächerlich!
Trip Start Mar 02, 2009
90Trip End Aug 20, 2009
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Where I stayed
International Youth Hostel Bruegel
This cuteness, however, contains at least one flaw. I say this because the time spent walking around was not intentional.
It was not intentional because I was carrying around a heavy backpack the whole time.
So then. What's the root of this madness?
Well ya see, there are two languages that are BATTLING TO THE DEATH ON THE STREETS OF THIS CITY.
In one corner of the ring: French -- a bored child who sometimes jazzes up the spelling of words with the clever use of a hat. In the other corner: Dutch -- a visually-challenged old woman who often writes vowels twice to make sure they've made it to the paper and who pronounces normal-looking phrases in such a way that we're sure she can't be reading the same sentence as the rest of us.
Yes. Those two. They're competing for superiority by unnecessarily complicating every sign, map and placard in this town. Some things are written in both. Others are written exclusively in one. The latter would be fine aside from the fact that this practice is alternated completely at random!
You can imagine my shock when, after writing down the directions to a place, I was amazed to find that it did not appear to exist on any of the posted maps. Or, when in reading a map, I was presented with a place eerily similar to where I was standing, but that had been labeled with names from a far-away land.
Less cool than it might seem, I assure you.
Especially when there's a complete lack of grid system and the lanes go in all sorts of directions or become trash cans when you're not looking. I began playing the "Is this counted as a street?" game. Answers ranged from "No, it's a statue with a sidewalk around it." to "Yes, it's a statue with a sidewalk around it that can also be driven on."
I cannot believe I'm about to say this...but...for the first time in my life, I wanted a GPS tonight.
I actually revisited the train station I'd set out from at one point to pee, refill my water jug and convince myself to keep going. Sadly, I only found the place I'm staying right after I'd decided to give up and take a night train to a strictly French-speaking place: After putting the directions away, I looked up and realized that the building in front of me was very similar to something I'd seen on the hostel's site.
A trip to the front of if confirmed my suspicions.
So here I am. In a room. With three guys from Catalonia.
The first thing I did was peel off the soaking wet clothes and take a hot shower. I then decided that I was going to make it an early (Saturday) night. There's a 1 a.m. curfew and I'd rather not risk getting locked out...especially when sitting down feels so good after the evening's events. There will be many more occasions for going out.
For the record: I just paused because I remembered there was a lion bar left in my bag and felt compelled to make this moment fattier. Shameless plug number two: These things are amazing! (!!!) Imagine the best qualities of a twix coupled with the texture of a rice crispy treat and the shell of a milky way. Jesus would like it.
Going to go exploring tomorrow and hope to meet someone who's up for showing me around or suggesting things to see.
In other news: I got to sit in the front car on one of the trains today. It was a really cool view.