Day 4: London/Brussels (15 Mar) #3

I arrived at Brussels-Midi in the evening, and it was beginning to turn dark. From what I had previously read up on, my Eurostar ticket is good for one trip from Brussels-Midi to Brussels-Central. However, upon arriving there, there are no clear instructions on where to go for this free transfer service, and my tired self just wandered out to get a taxi. This is where the ‘Brussels Disaster’ as I called it began to unfold.

It cost me 20 odd Euros (I had to remind myself that I’m in the EU now, and pounds wouldn’t work) for me to get from Midi to my Airbnb. By the looks of it, the driver wasn’t too sure where the location was as well. He just sorta wandered down the streets and pointed ‘there.’

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The streets outside of my Airbnb.

My Airbnb host was not in, and had already left the keys with a night shop somewhere around the area as he mentioned in the messages with him. However, the night shop wasn’t anywhere in sight of the Airbnb, and it took me a good while to locate it without Google Maps; my Lycamobile data apparently didn’t work here.

Now, the host mentioned that the shop beneath the Airbnb was selling ‘African Art’. The problem is there are two of the art shops on the same street, one opposite the other. The one I was at, 43 fit the bill pretty nicely but was not labeled as an African Art shop. The one opposite was clearly marked by a signboard. So you can see where my confusion is coming from. And without data or wifi, I had no way of communicating with my host to ascertain which was the one. Worse still, none of the keys given to me by the night shop seemed to work on either of the doors.

It was dark by now, and frustration was beginning to set in. I probably cursed and swore quite a few times until a local who spoke English came along and helped me open the door to No.43. It turns out you have to give Belgian doors a good kick and shove for them to open.

After bidding goodbye to the helpful local (it turns out that he lived nearby), I finally had the time to get a good look at the house. It was at the top/attic of a townhouse, very stair intensive and even the stairs are so narrow that only one person could pass through at any time. Let me give a summary of doors you’ll have to pass through:

  • First: The main wooden door of the building that I couldn’t open earlier.
  • Second: A glass door separating the shop at the ground floor from the residential units above.
  • Third: A plywood door, the main door to the unit.

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That’s the unit’s door you see down there.
Once you get past the unit’s door, you’ll walk up a set of stairs where you’ll come to a bedroom, then another flight of stairs up to the main level where the kitchen, washroom, dining and living areas are. You have another set of stairs going up into the loft, where there’s another bed. A hell lot of stairs eh?

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The loft bedroom.

Overall, it’s a very cozy place. I’d certainly want it as a bachelor’s pad. If it was up to me I’ll probably convert the loft into a working area. Other than, let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The dining area. Kitchen is on the left.
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Brussels at night. Taken from the loft’s window.
Edit: I’ve read that tap water on Belgium is good enough to drink directly, that wasn’t the case here. The water I got from my taps had quite a bit of sediment in it. I’m not sure if it’s a localized problem or what, but I stuck to drinking bottled water for the duration of my stay in Brussels.

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