Back to Berlin. Over to Brussels and Paris. Onto London and Home. The End of Leg 2.
I caught my flight back to Berlin at 7am dragging my feet. Thankfully, it was a fairly short flight. I leaned my head against the window and was able to catch about 20 good minutes of sleep. It’s miserable to be this tired, this run down. Life is so much more enjoyable when you’ve had a good nights sleep. I am so much more enjoyable when I’ve had a good nights sleep. I’m just not one of those people who can function without a solid 8 hours. Never have been, never will be. I’m not an early morning person. Never have been, never will be.
Still, even this tired, I am committed to doing it the way the locals do. I drug my 80 lbs of luggage, that gets heavier each day I am closer to leaving Europe, to the train station. I, again, struggled to figure out which way to go, which subway to transfer to and where to walk to get to the hotel I booked. I missed the first train and the second was cancelled. It took me nearly two hours to get to my hotel and when I arrived, the room was not ready.
I demanded a room. I am now losing my tolerance and gaining irritability. The poor front desk staff. They were sitting ducks. At the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately for them, they were in the line of my fire on the wrong day of the month. I was irritable and angry and had to take it out on someone. They would be the perfect target for my venom over the next 24 hours.
After I made it in the room and rested for about 30 minutes, I showered. While still in the bathroom an employee of the hotel decides to let herself in my room. I was furious and of course, had to yell at the front desk for such an inappropriate move. I called, but the phone in my room was missing the directory plate with instructions on how to dial out. I ended up calling the Fire Department. I am now boiling under my skin that their carelessness in this detail is prohibiting me from properly yelling at someone. I threw whatever clothes on I could find and marched downstairs to the front desk fueling my anger even more that I have to leave the comfort of my room to deal with this. I unleashed on the first person I could find. Damning them for having employed such an ignorant staff that would enter into a guest’s room without knocking. Damning them for their carelessness in having a phone in the room that is useless.
Ahhhh….I feel better.
I accepted an invitation for dinner that turned out to be a big mistake. I really should have stayed in and slept. But my friend didn’t have a lot of free time, so I obliged. I was counting down the minutes until I could finally go to bed. That time came late Sunday night. I don’t know what time it was and I didn’t care. I just wanted to go to bed. Where is that day off I have been longing for? I’m still due for that day off.
The next day was another travel day. Get up early, pack up the suitcase, check out of the hotel, walk to the subway, transfer to the train, head to Brussels, learn a new map, figure out the subway and walk the 80 lbs of luggage to the hotel, check in, find food and plan the next day of sightseeing. It’s really getting to be too much, but the end is near. Brussels for a day, a quick stop in Paris, then onto London for the flight back to the US.
Brussels was a pick up city. I originally intended to visit it in the beginning of my trip, but was talked out of it by a man in Paris. I regretted not going the whole trip and made it a point to stop in on my way out. I’m glad I did.
It is a sweet city that is easily visited in an afternoon. I sampled the Belgian waffles, picked up some Belgian chocolates for souvenirs and took a picture by the famous Manneken Pis.
A small, famous statue of a little boy peeing. I am told it is as important to Brussels as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris or the Statue of Liberty is to NY.
I made my way to the train station for yet another train ride. I needed to make it to London by the evening to meet up with a friend for dinner. But I had to detour through Paris to pick up a bag I left there almost 4 weeks ago when I first arrived. You see, when I first arrived in Paris, the handle of the brand new piece of Samsonite luggage I had purchased for this trip, conveniently broke. I thought it to be because the bag was too heavy, so in an attempt to lighten up the bag, I unloaded some of the heavier pieces and left them in a locker at the train station. Now, the 80 lbs of luggage will soon turn into a 100 lbs, thus adding insult to injury.
I made it to London in the nick of time. I was due to meet my friend that I will be, coincidentally, meeting up with in Southeast Asia, at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant in Claridge’s hotel. I rolled into the hotel with all of my luggage in tow and darted towards the bathroom for a quick fresher upper. As I rolled in, my friend had just arrived. Perfect timing. We dined on beef Wellington and Thai-spiced lobster ravioli. We planned and plotted our upcoming escape in Southeast Asia. I accepted her invitation to stay the night with her and head out in the morning to the hotel that I had booked. Maybe tomorrow I can get that day off.
I woke up early and headed out in a London fog to my hotel near Gatwick. Another train system and another subway system to figure out, but at least this time, it was all in English. Finally, a break.
I finally had my day off. I unpacked and reorganized the luggage to accommodate the airline’s weight limits and assumed my favorite position in bed: pillows propping me up, computer on my lap and connected to the internet. This is my relax position. I stayed in this position for hours.
I took a quick trip back into the city later that night to grab some fish and chips. I didn’t want to come all the way to London without a small walk through the city streets.
The next morning I was to fly out to NY and then onto Cincinnati to regroup and repack for Southeast Asia. This marks the end of Leg 2. 16 cities, 14 trains, 4 planes, 4 currencies and 8 languages in 30 days. No wonder I am so exhausted, but it was well worth every groggy yawn and every frustrated pout.
Now, bring on the sun!
Now, bring on the sun!