Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A hectic start

A few days before V. and S.’s arrival in Brussels, I sent them detailed information on how to get from their hotel to my place. They had three options. The first one was the easiest: just take a taxi, give the driver my address and he will deliver you on my doorstep in less than no time. The fare: +/- 50 euros. The second involved taking two buses; the third taking the metro (underground/subway) and a bus. In both case the fare would be between 5 and 7 euro per person. A lot cheaper than the taxi … but with the risk of getting lost!

V. mailed to me that their choice would be a spur of the moment decision. However, when she called me on Thursday night to make the final arrangements, she immediately told me that they had decided on the taxi and that they had booked one through the reception desk at their hotel. The car was scheduled to pick them up at 9.45 a.m. the next day.

On Friday morning, I got up much earlier than I usually do on my day off, rushed to the supermarket as soon as it was open (9 a.m.) to pick up a bottle of Champagne that I intended to share with my mother later that day … because that is what we usually do when we’re celebrating a birthday. Despite the early hour, there was already a queue at the checkout counter. And when I left the parking lot, I found myself behind the garbage truck on its monthly paper round, with two men running behind it, collecting the cardboard boxes that were lined up along the road and throwing them into the truck. There was no way of overtaking it without putting myself in danger. I was beginning to get nervous. What if my friends arrived before I got home and found a closed door, with nobody answering the doorbell?

A Brussels' taxi with its typical checkerboard pattern. 
The building in the back is Brussels' Central station, 
near the Grand' Place in Brussels. (Photo from the internet)

I finally made it home at about 9.45 a.m. Relieved I put my purchases in the fridge. At five to ten I casually glanced out of the kitchen window, just in time to see a Brussels’ taxi making a U-turn in front of the building. Brussels’ taxis are easily recognizable by their black colour and black and yellow checkerboard pattern on the sides. They aren't a common sight in our village, so it could only mean that my friends had arrived. I rushed downstairs to welcome them. 

(more to come)


chm said...

For some reason your mentioning the central railway station in Bruxelles made me think of the Botanic Garden which was located not too far away from it. I remember taking photos of the Victoria Regia, that enormous tropical water lily housed in the greenhouse. I googled the Botanic Garden and found out that it was moved away in the suburbs a year or two after I visited it. It was 1937! Much has happened since then! LOL

ladybird said...

Chm, The 'Plantentuin' (Botanical garden) is now located in the town of Meise, just north of Brussels. That's where most of my cousin's and my recently deceased uncle live(d). I've visited it once or twice when I was a little girl. The tropical water lily is still there - maybe not the same plant as the one you saw in 1937. It is amazing, isn't it. In the 60-ties, when I visited, we were told that the leaves could hold a weight up to 30-40 kilos ... enough for the tiny girl that I was at the time, to actually walk over them. I didn't try it though :)