Tuesday, September 8th 2015
There’s something about a good old bus trip that bonds a group of people together. I’d say it’s comparable to watching a theatrical performance. For an amount of time, you’re seated and enclosed in a space together and forced to experience things as they come at you. And it’s something you really can’t repeat in exactly the same way ever again.
Thus began our 4th day in Europe: the journey from the Netherlands to Belgium to France.
Cruising in a nice little charter bus with two seats to myself, I staring out the window as we left the city of Amsterdam. I quickly lost track of the time as we said goodbye and Kathy pointed out a first sighting of industrial windmills.
Completely exhausted, I heard the muffled chatter of some of our group in the back of the bus and was happy to just be sitting in a contained place for a while. Every day felt so long and action-packed. It was nice to take a break and just be still.
We made a couple of pit stops for leg stretching, bathroom use, and food. The rest stations were surprisingly clean and had coffee vending machine things that spit out shot-sized coffees. Jordan and I had to try some. It was fun pushing a button and watching coffee come out. I am a child… 🙂
As we made our way into Brussels, we played some 20-questions trivia games and listened to Kathy and Nadia’s music over the speakers. Time allowed for Christina and Jordan-Alan’s request of stopping at the Atomium so we took a quick break for pictures before heading downtown.
Our first (main) destination of the day was Brussels, Belgium. Our bus driver dropped us off a few blocks away from the Grand Place. It was around lunch time so we had a few hours to eat and wander around. Kathy gave us a central meeting place and we were off!
I only had my iPhone in Belgium so pardon the photo quality.
Jordan, Jordan-Alan, and I found our way to a little corner shop- The Waffle Factory. I made it a point to have a waffle in Belgium and ended up eating two! On had ham, cheese, and pineapple inside. The other was drizzled with Belgium chocolate. Delicious!
I sent the Jordans on their way to wander while I finished eating. Then I did some exploring on my own. Up and down the alleyways I walked, gazing at the chocolate shops and beautiful architecture. I even found a restaurant by the name of Cecilia- my confirmation saint. I wandered over to the St. Nicholas church and went in to light a candle.
After we met back up and everyone decided they needed to go to the bathroom again… >.> we were back on the bus. More trivia games, (where Jordan-Alan may or may not have whooped our butts and brains with history facts…), music, and naps followed for the remainder of the drive.
We had a first taste of Paris traffic as we hit the outskirts- but made pretty good time overall. The day-long trip, (7 or 8 hours), was broken up well with plenty of down time. But it was good to be at our next destination: Paris, France!
After settling into Hotel Le Canal, many of us met up to grab food for a little birthday celebration for Jordan. We crossed the street to the market and collected cheeses, baguettes, meats, fruits, and wine. After what seemed like an hour or so of miscommunication, we had an array of things and made our way to the canal to party like Parisians.
We had a good time just hanging out, playing rounds of ‘Never Have I Ever’ and talking. We watched dogs and their owners walking by, enjoyed the lights along the darkened sky, and admired the canal. At some point, a man came over to sell light-up bow headbands. Liz made him take multiple group pictures of us before she bought some. It was rather entertaining. Never a dull moment! I love these people.
Eventually my exhausted self broke away from the party and found its way back to the hotel. A shower, cot, and room adorned with Audrey Hepburn were calling my name. Time to rest up for that Paris place, ya know?? 😉
The Hunch | Pink Spider