After all of previous night's excitement we decided to sleep till we could sleep no more. By the time we got ready and were about to leave PS sent me an email from work informing me that he could not come home to take us to the station in the evening as he had a meeting and he would try to see us directly at Brussels Nord. To make up for that he wanted to come home and spend some time with us during lunch. I am smart so when he came home, I had all our bags packed and asked him to help us drop our bags off at the storage in the station and we could do a city tour and pick up our bags at the station and head to Brussels Nord from Central. Because walking the ten minute walk on cobble stones and uphill climb even in sneakers with the bags was crazy, especially with Babs and the stroller. So we lugged our bags to the station locker and dumped it in and bid PS farewell hoping he would really be able to see us off that evening. I hate hasty goodbyes.
We then found ourselves a tour bus and got to the top in spite of it being slightly chill. BRU was a revelation. Contrary to my original cynical perspective Brussels was beautiful. I found the Royal Palace more grand than Buckingham Palace (Sorry Queen!). The modern part of the city was also very impressive and our ride was really exciting. Our last stop at the Little EU and Atomium turned out a bit of a disappointment. We bought tickets for the Atomium instead of the little EU. A big mistake because the Atomium was not that great and Babs would have loved Little EU and because we ran out of time we could not visit it and I was very disappointed but then what the hell is a trip without some disappointment. So we headed back to the city. I had my last Belgian Waffle topped with chocolate and bananas and Giri ate at a local burger joint and I also fed Babs more yogurt. Then we walked slowly to the station, picked up our bags and waited for PS.
He had told us to leave in case he did not make it before 5.45pm. The clock was showing 5.45pm and I told G that we should take the train to avoid any drama. G told me to count to ten before leaving just in case PS turns up and just as I counted 6, I saw him run down the stairs in true SRK style and I was so jumpy happy. He quickly picked Babs and a bag and G and I followed him to take the next train to Brussels Nord from where we were to catch our train to Frankfurt am Main. PS got into the train with Babs and the bag and before we could get in, the train doors started to close. The ticket collector would not let PS get down and us in. Confusion broke out in all our faces except Babs who carelessly smiled at PS as the train moved away.
G and I freaked out and everyone in the station saw what had happened. People around us assured that the next train would come in 3 minutes and everything will be fine. G and I stood getting tensed about Babs and then about PS. We did not have a cell phone on us to co-ordinate! What if Babs throws a temper tantrum, what if she hurts him, what if...
We got into the next train and got down at Nord and waited to see if they were in the platform and then headed up not sure where they would be. We were tensed until we saw PS holding Babs while she played with his long hair peacefully. I ran and hugged both of them and PS assured me that the two of them had no issues and Babs did not even shed a tear. She asked for us and when he told her that we would come in the next train she chilled. We are so proud of her.
Then we chatted and waited for our German train SNCB to come and pick us up. When the train came into the platform we tried to run to our compartment. Suddenly PS screamed and told us to get inside the train wherever we were and he threw the bag he was holding into the compartment he was standing next to. The three of us barely made it in and the train left the station. Total DDLJ Style. PS waved good bye and we could not believe that the train barely stopped in the Nord station for more than 30 seconds. Frustrated we also found that our seat was literally the last seat in the train! Brilliant. G went and culled all our bags from the different compartments. One was really far away where PS had thrown it in and then two of them were lying where we had got in and it took him almost 20 minutes to pick them all up and get them to the last coach. He then settled down for a nap with Babs while I started out through the window into the darkness as Brussels blended into other EU cities that I had no idea of.
Then the ticket collector came and threw another googly at us. She wanted our tickets to which I gave her what I had printed out. She insisted that it was not the ticket. The piece of paper showed the date and time our seating confirmation, seat numbers and the fact that we had paid! I don't know what else she wanted. She fussed about for two minutes in strong German laced English and then left in a huff. We sat down and relaxed once again after G threw enough attitude around in frustration.
We got ready to get down at Frankfurt Airport assuming that is where we were supposed to when to gentlemen on the train assured us that it was the wrong one. So G asked them to confirm why the airport station was not the main one? the board did say Frankfurt Airport (am Main). The two of them had a hearty laugh and told us that Frankfurt am Main meant Frankfurt on the river main and had nothing to do with it being the main station. Foreigners we are! Lesson learnt, always ask locals to stop you from doing anything stupid.
Nits was there waiting for us. G and him could not hold back their excitement. Nits spoke with high energy (like Babs on sugar) and freaked Babs out. The entire drive to Walldorf Babs kept asking me if we could go back to Dallas. Nit had plans for us, to go to Venice, then to Austria and to Switzerland. G and I quietly pointed out that we had two kids (his and ours) in the equation maybe just Switzerland will do. Making a lot of plans we got to his apartment where his wife made some dosa for Babs who gobbled it up in excitement and I ate rice and sambar as if I had not eaten in a year. After all soul food is soul food and who would not miss rice especially if they are from the South of India. Babs had milk and then went to bed hoping we would come back to Dallas sooner. But that was before she saw Tanmay's play room...
Edited to Add:
Thanks Remya for reminding me about my PS. I had one but forgot to write it down.
- Every beverage has it's own glass to go with it. There is no generic glass they serve anything in. Even if it is water, they have a glass that matches the brand of mineral water they are serving you. Same goes for beers. For bars that store 1000's of varieties of beer, they still carry a glass to match each beer and will not serve you otherwise. My friends house was also the same. He went and bought new beer glasses because he bought some new beer and the beer has to match the glass. They are so particular about that.
- Beer is big in Belgium. People drink beer three times a day at the very least.
- Did I mention before that food in Brussels is super expensive? It is very rare to get decent priced food. So be prepared for that on your budget. Plus Italian here does not taste like Italian in USA...which I prefer more.