Tomorrow I am off to Antwerp again

In less than 10 hours I will be siting in the early morning train taking me to Brussels. It is no fun waking up so early but it takes almost 5 hours to get to Antwerp so I must rise early. I enjoy the start becausAntwerp beere in the beginning the train is always empty, so I can take a nap or just relax but within an hour or two, it starts filling up and then it is hard to sleep with so many people around loudly speaking French. Sometimes but only sometimes I hear English. But my favourite part is grabbing a cup of coffee and some tasty pastry on my way to the train. It is a habit from the days when I commuted daily from Germany and now it is hard to get rid off it. When I am taking a journey on a train, I cannot help but get coffee and a pastry even if it is in the middle of the day!

Brussels where all trains connect is packed with people but I already know my routine: get off, drag my bag downstairs, once again upstairs to a right platform, get on and hopefully to get a seat. Even if I miss one of the trains to Antwerp, there is always another within 10 minutes. With my luck, it is not a slow one that stops at every smallest town making the trip to drag forever. Once I made that mistake but knowing no French nor Flemish, it is hard for me to tell the difference. Now because of all the snow, many trains are delayed and the schedule is completely unreliable anyway.

Ironically, I passed Brussels so many times but I have never been there except for its numerous train stations, some from going by, some from stopping to change trains  and walking through shops and candy stores to kill time. But this is my last trip to Belgium until June when I finish my thesis and return from Sweden, so perhaps one day in summer when I do not have too many bags with me, I will stop for longer and get to explore the capital city. I want to rent a car and see other Belgium cities as well, mainly Gent and Brugge. And since Trappist beer is one of the kind, visiting more monastery breweries would be nice too….

Mier street    Painting on building

For now, Antwerp will do. Once again I am staying at a business hotel outside of the center, close to the highway because it takes me straight to the plant. Dining at the hotel restaurant, running in the gym and taking a dip in the swimming pool are my only options being so far from the city but when the good weather returns, I am eager to stay in the center again. There I can enjoy the stroll through narrow streets surrounded by beautiful architecture, have a dinner somewhere in the old town while sitting outside, ride a bike with my laptop swinging over my shoulder and catch a bus to work. It is a great city for bikes and I cannot wait for summer again. The locals ride in snow but I do not dare it yet. Maybe one day…