Market in Mechelen

Saturday, February 07, 2015
Mechelen, Antwerpen, Belgium
10:28 am
On the train, heading to Mechelen, a small town (80,000-ish, smaller than Brussels) only about 20 minutes north of Brussels . I 'slept in' this morning until 8 am. I checked into my flight for tomorrow, showered and got ready and walked to the station. The ticket lines were long, and I didn't have any luck the other day with using the machines, so I had to go to the counter. My round trip ticket to Mechelen was only 5.40 euro. I guess they have weekend rates where you only pay for a single trip, which is nice. While I was there, I decided to buy my ticket to the airport tomorrow. The first leaves at 4:51, so because my flight leaves at 8:05, I am guessing that should be enough time. A taxi would probably cost me 50 euro, so I'd rather not do that.

There is a mean conductor on this train. When we got to Brussels central, she was blowing her whistle and telling people to 'Move!!'  She scared me, and I wasn't even the one she was yelling at. I was just watching from afar. I also made a boo-boo in that when I got on I sat in the the 1st class car. I was so
concerned with going to the right place that I didn't notice what car I was getting on. The nice guy next to me pointed it out when I asked him if I was on the correct train. I just gather my bag and walked toward the 2nd class cars. To be honest, I didn't think first class was much better. It wasn't like they were breaking out the caviar and shining my shoes.

2:35 pm:
On the train, heading back to Brussels.

I only had 1 .50 euro in my pocket so the first order of business there was to find an ATM. The one at the station didn't work. I tried another at a bank and no luck. Finally, 'Ing' with the big lion had a machine and it worked! I probably would've been ok as most places in Belgium take plastic, but I don't like to be without some cash. In Romania, it was very important!

Mechelen was cute, and they had a great market happening. I found the center of town pretty easily, as I asked a woman right away if I was heading in the right direction. It's pretty much one turn from the train station and then you stay on that street. I roamed the market, took some photos and went inside St Rumbard's Cathedral. That thing is 512 steps to climb, almost 200 more than I did yesterday. I said, no thank you. I wasn't in the mood to become a sweaty beast again in the middle of the day. And today was the warmest day in Brussels so far. The sun was out and there was no wind. It was way better than yesterday's weather in Brugge. I bought an obligatory Belgian waffle with Nutella and went to the Het Anker Brewery, because why not? It is one of the oldest breweries in Belgium, first appearing in the records in 1369! It has been in the same family for generations. I didn't take a tour, but I sampled a glass of the Boscoli, a fruit beer. That was tasty! If I had had a car, I would've filled it. It went down super smooth and was very refreshing. Instead I only bought two bottles . I also had it with a cheese and salami tray.

I should be back to Brussels soon, and I'm not sure what else I will do. I need to pack and organize my suitcase for sure. Maybe I will take a walk in the neighborhood. We'll see.

6:37 pm:
Waiting for my last dinner in Belgium. I decided to go with Lora's rec for a place in the neighborhood. She recommended it for mussels, which I can't seem to get enough of. It's a funky place with fun lighting and cool murals on the walls. When I got back from Mechelen, I called home and reorganized my suitcase for tomorrow. I must be feeling better or must be used to the time change by now, because I would say yesterday was the first day I didn't feel like crashing in the middle of the day. I also am sleeping better here. I did not sleep well in Romania. It wasn't the noise or that the room was not comfortable. I just could not fall asleep or stay asleep. I had read that the area about the Brussels Zuid/Midi station was a little dodgy, and I do get that vibe . There definitely doesn't seem like there are as many tourists here as in the more central location I was before. Although maybe this is more of the 'real' Brussels? There is no wifi here, so I actually have to just sit, or blog. Blogging does come in handy when on the train or waiting for food. And it also means I'm not writing everything at night.

Time to eat. Thanks for reading!
- Jamie