I’m reading Undaunted Courage, a book about the Lewis and Clark expedition by Steven Ambrose. Lewis and Clark were bosses. They left the comfort of the colonies in the northeast and just set off with 30 men into uncharted and unknown lands on a quest to find the Pacific. They moved about 5 to 10 miles a day on this big keelboat that they either rowed, sailed, or pushed along rivers towards the rockies. I just read about their first encounter with the Sioux tribe in the plains of the Dakotas. Both parties were proud and egotistical. At one point the whole expedition almost self destructed. Guns were pointed at indian chiefs and arrows were directed right at Lewis and Clark. Thankfully, for the west coast of the U.S., the issues were resolved and Lewis and Clark didn’t get an arrow through the head.
Its a fun book to read on this adventure. But I’m sure glad nothings escalated to a scenario similar to what I just described.
Train travel is (mad lib your favorite enthusiastically positive adjective here) On the Eurostar from London, I paid for a cheap seat so didn’t have a window…The train ride from Brussels to Rotterdam was top-notch. Beautiful sunny day. See it to believe it.
Brussels was tight. I got in at the south station, hiked 3 or 4 miles to the hostel. Walking is a great way to get the feeling of a place pretty quickly. I just walked in the direction I thought the hostel might be after scanning the city on google maps and things. I felt very very triumphant once I stumbled upon the place I was staying. I met some really cool people at the hostel. James, an Auzzie bloke, convinced me that Australians are some of the most chilled out people in the world. He was my bunk-mate. He came to Belgium for Tomorrowland, a huge music festival and is spending a month and a half bumming around Europe then going to visit his Swedish girlfriend. C’est la vie. I also hung out with a pilot/journalist from Honolulu and then some more Americans, one from L.A. and one from Miami at a bar that served over 2000 beers. Extremely hard to choose. Especially when you can’t read Gernch (German/French). Brussels is a really cool town. I only had 24 hours there. The Grand Place, central square, is stunning. I stayed in the old part of town with tiny cobble-stone alleyways and crazy gothic architecture that probably hasn’t changed at all in 400 years. Here are some shots:
Here’s my view from where I’m sitting right now.
I made it to Rotterdam. I’m living on an island in a city. The apartment faces a large canal with barges constantly taxi-ing stuff by. I met two of the roommates, Berand and Tristan. They are 21 year old students at Erasmus University. They gave me the rundown about the markets, grocery stores, etc. and told me a little bit about the city. They were both born and raised here and love it. Tristan plays U-21 field hockey for the Netherlands national team. There is another guy on the 3rd floor of this building that plays for a local rugby team so I might go out and train with them a few times when I’m here. It stays light until 10pm. Amazing. Tristan took me to the grocery store then we all settled down to play some Fifa, just like the homies back at Bowdoin. James “The don” Rohman and Carney are definitely better than these guys, though.
This island and this country gives me the good vibes, mon.
The girl I replaced was apparently a real looker from Mexico. I apologized to the guys that I wasn’t a more attractive female, but will try my hardest to look pretty. I have a really nice room with big windows, a desk, armchair, double bed. Can. not. complain. All of this is for less than half the price of staying in hostels!!
Still got a long way to go. But I’m feeling like I can do this for a while. Looking forward to settling into the Netherlands for a couple months. Tomorrow’s mission: get a bike.