How much travelling can you do for one project? Well a lot I guess, sadly this was my final trip for the project of the past 3 years. The final thing left to do was present the project results to the EU commission, who financed the project, so naturally the meeting was held in Brussels, Belgium. Yes, another check on my ever more complete list of countries I’ve visited.
Over the years, I got used to travelling and since 2017 there was no roaming in EU any more I decided I was confident enough to just go to the Brussels without any extra preparation of where I have to go, where is my hotel or any other information in this regard, as I felt it was a waste of paper and I have all the information on e-mail at the tips of my fingers anyway. So as it usually is with this things, the first thing I discovered after landing was that my phone died – literary died, not just dead battery but actually completely dead without hope of recovery. Oh shit, I thought, I never felt so lost in my life. Luckily I had my laptop with me so with a lot of struggle I managed to find a WiFi point at the airport, find the location of the meeting and freaking memorize the whole way there since I didn’t have any paper to write it down. Lessons were learned.
Too much of my amazement I actually correctly navigated to the location of the meeting, and I was only 3 hours late, luckily it was just a rehearsal session for next day’s defence before the commission, so it wasn’t as terrible as it sounds. During the meeting I managed to look where my hotel was, luckily some girl had a hotel near mine, so I could use her to navigate near my hotel and then spent half an hour to find my hotel. Funny enough I was staying in a quarter called Stalingrad.
The meeting next day with the commission went flawlessly, they were impressed with the project results and all in all, despite some hiccups during development over the years, we passed with flying colours.
This time again I took an extra day off to have some time to explore the city. After returning to the hotel I was unpleasantly surprised that my hotel room was empty. They made a mistake and thought I checked out that morning, after a bit of nagging and complaining at the reception they soon found my belongings and upgraded me to the best room of the hotel. I was actually quite happy about it, the room was probably larger than my apartment, with a view over the street. Well, this might sound a bit better than it actually was, since everything is extremely expensive in Brussels the hotel was low to mid range at most. I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this before, but we have a daily budget for hotels which you should not exceed, there are some exceptions to course (New York at 3 times the budget, khm), but generally you get much more out of it if you travel to a town which is cheaper, as you can get into much nicer hotels.
Despite these problems the visit of the Europe’s capital was great. I just couldn’t believe at the decorations of the buildings in the city center, everything was old and shining of gold. It truly looks like the capital. One thing I found fascinating was that there were a lot of nice graffiti on the buildings all over the place.
I didn’t mention food much, well as the food goes, haha I don’t think I ever ate so much junk food on any trip till then and since. Waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Sure, why now. Ever heard of French fries? Well they were invented in Belgium. Belgium chocolate? Yes, please!