Friday was my last real day left in Belgium. I had to leave for the airport the next morning at 6am for an 11 hour trip back home. I figured I should make the most of the night so I’d be able to sleep on those flights.
I left work a little early that day (around 4:30) so that I could make it back to Mechelen Center before the shops closed at 6. I was SHOCKED at how many people were out! There were easily 40-50 times more people out then than I had seen all week. Jochen had given me a ride, so the two of us poked around the shops picking up the necessities to bring back home (chocolates, waffles, and beers).
After that I was pretty exhausted from the night before so I went back to my hotel and took what I planned on being a short nap. Two hours later when I woke up, mildly shell shocked, I packed my bags and headed out to Brussels. Both the Comic Museum and the Atomium had closed at 6pm, but I really wanted to at least see the Atomium (which was supposed to look really awesome at night) so that was the plan.
By the time I got to the train station I think it was about 9 o’clock. I bought my round trip ticket and headed to Brussels Centre, and switched there to the Metro all the way to the 2nd to last stop on the line. Being able to find my way around on a public transportation system that was in not one, but two languages I really didn’t know, really felt good.
Unfortunately, it was such a long trip out there, I really only had about 20-30 minutes to look around before I had to get back. But it was a really nice night out, and the whole area around the Atomium was really nice. It was the type of place that you could just hang out and do nothing but talk or have stupid somersault contests up and down the green all night and have it be an awesome time. There was a moderate night life floating around, and just a really good feel to everything, but sadly I had to leave kind of early.
The metro station on the way back home was decorated with all sorts of paintings and murals on the walls, one of which was this dude with a really big nose that I couldn’t help but want to pick. Having impressed myself with being able to take good pictures of myself using the timer on my camera at the Atomium, I gave it a shot again here. This proved much harder, but I got some funny pictures in trying. I ended up talking to some kids that were also waiting for the train back towards the city and got them to take a better picture of me. Its kind of cool how humor transcends languages, as they laughed at what I was asking them to take a picture of even though only one out of the four of them really spoke English.
The night wrapped up with me walking around Mechelen for about the 4th night, and going back to the hotel around 2 or 3 in the morning. I went to sleep around 4, got up and hour an a half later, and headed home. Everything went really smoothly, and I got back to Boston around 1pm, where my parents were waiting for me.
All and all, it was a pretty fun trip, and I’m excited to go back soon (hopefully in about another 3 weeks!).