It was an early rise this morning (6am to be exact) but even as I was rudely awakened by my alarm, I couldn’t help smiling. That’s how much I love to travel. No really, just the thought of being on the move and seeing somewhere new excites me enough to be able to get up that early, a rare occurrence as I’m barely ever seen out of bed before midday!
As our train (the 07:57 train from Kings Cross St Pancras to Brussels) pulled out of the station, I got those familiar little ‘travel’ butterflies telling me we were on our way, that the journey had begun. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t get those same feelings what it is about travelling that I enjoy so much; it’s the not knowing what’s ahead, the spontaneity, the people, the food, the culture, the differences, the similarities. There is no one thing that can summarise the essence of travel as it’s not just something you ‘do’. Instead it is a way of life, a mentality driven by passion, curiosity and a childish excitement for all things new.
Anyway, 2 hours later and we were in Brussels, where we hopped into a waiting taxi and made our way to the hotel. As we drove through the streets of Belgium, travelling away from Brussels and into Antwerp (where our hotel, De Witte Lelie is situated), I was reminded of the slick city feel of Berlin, with its trams and busy roads, combined with the delicate beauty of Paris, with its little shops and cobbled streets. I guess all European towns and cities are pretty similar really, soaked in history and culture.
After settling in at the hotel, we ventured out onto the streets of Antwerp to find some food! And food we found – at a lovely little cafe/restaurant place called Via Via. And once we were full we headed back into a taxi and went on our way to Tongeren, where we were going to visit Trinny and Susannah as they filmed an episode of their new TV series! So as I sat in the back of the taxi, with two sisters beside me singing along to the Glee soundtrack, and the other one and her friend sitting in front of me, giggling away, playing some insane game of ‘hit me when you spot this car’, I decided enough was enough, stuck in my earphones and fell asleep to the dulcet tones of Frank Turner…”to the East, to the East, the road beneath my feet. To the West to the West, I haven’t got there yet…”
We returned back to Antwerp after a few hours spent sifting through all the rails of clothes, and ventured out once again in search of food. On the hunt we came across the city’s cathedral and spent a few moments staring up at it in awe, before our hunger pains got the better of us and we scurried off to a little restaurant for delicious pasta and pizza.
So there I’ll end the day; fed, watered, tired but happy, ready for another day of discovery tomorrow.