A Disaster-less Journey (Somehow)

*The following was written on the 1st October, as a note on my phone, and is being published now. Enjoy (I hope)*

I'm on a journey, and so far it's actually going to plan. I don't want to tempt fate, but I'm as astonished as you are. This is almost too good to be true.

Currently I'm on a bus from Brussels Charleroi airport to Brussels Zuidstation (south train station), from where I will get a train to Leuven arriving around midnight and then either get another bus, wander little Leuven on my lonesome, or be met at the station by a kind and valiant Leuvener (Leuvenite? Leuvonian?).

I left home (York home, because our amazing little house actually is a home now that the three of us have successfully graduated from the magnolia brick walls of Prison Block) around 2pm this afternoon. I got a bus (had to run to the bus stop, obviously - can't remember when I last had the time luxury of walking at a leisurely pace when with a suitcase), then a train, then a plane - admittedly all with not a lot of time to spare, since I seem to enjoy challenging myself with generally unrealistically tight schedules, but I made it all the same. Even with a lengthy and conveniently timed (not) power-cut in Manchester airport, leaving me with approximately zilcho idea of what was happening. I even managed to get through Belgian passport control (oh, non-Schengen woes), out of the airport, and onto the correct bus in a record eight minutes. Or at least, thus far it seems to be the correct bus.

And that's where I am now, as I write this. I can't be totally sure it's the correct bus as the driver only speaks French, and while I'm understanding most of it, he does have a very strong Marseille accent and he keeps mentioning Marseille, which in his accent sounds uncannily like Bruxelles, which almost concerns me every so often. Almost, that is, until I remember the time I found myself stranded in the middle of the night after the last bus in the wrong country with no phone and no money and no language skills (don't even try to tell me Swiss German is anything like German German). I emerged unscathed from that particular adventure; I'm pretty sure I can cope if I end up in France when I hop merrily off this bus at the other end.

The woman next to me kept sniffing suspiciously when I was trying to enjoy my yoghurt. Having been warned of a severe nut allergy on the flight, I had to restrain myself from the raspberry and amaretto deliciousness (packaged in a factory that handles nuts, of course) that was just sitting quietly in my bag for a whole three hours. Which made it a teeny bit annoying that when I did finally get to have it, my neighbour seemed so scornful.

And now the guy across the aisle from me, engrossed in a magazine article about Manchester United, is whistling along (tunelessly, I might add) to the questionable music our Marseillais conducteur has opted for. I feel it might be important to note that when he was tuning in to the radio station of choice,  he was cracking jokes about having had a shot of whisky. "Non, non, je blague," - but still. The music is weird enough that I'm not totally discounting whisky having had an effect on the decision.

As travels go, I genuinely can't stop being simultaneously really impressed and proud, and also very perplexed at how well this one is actually going. I did kind of splatter yoghurt over myself a bit when I opened it (I'm blaming the cabin pressure doing weird things to my poor Collective bio live-ness), but that's really the smallest of bumps in the road. It's pretty much a crumb. A silver-lined crumb, because now I smell faintly of raspberry and amaretto (and yes I'm aware it may go sour and stinky - don't worry, I can fix it, I'm not incapable in every aspect of life. I defrosted a freezer yesterday. I'm such a grown up.)

It'll be a bonus if I still smell nice and raspberry-ish tomorrow evening, because that's the EYP Prom (#EYProm) - the event I'm actually in Belgium for in the first place. And I didn't have space in my liquids bag to bring Tommy Hilfiger with me (yes, the actual human - no. obviously not. the Tommy Girl perfume. duh) or any nail polish, so I painted my nails in duty free (courtesy of Dior's testers, no less - I can wholeheartedly recommend 'Muguet', in case anyone cares) but am yet to find a solution to the fragrance issue.

It's so nice to be travelling and have my biggest issue be how to make up (ha ha) for a lack of perfume. This might actually be the one adventure where nothing goes wrong. Obviously I set off the security in the airport, but that happens every time (I'm not joking), so it's no big deal. I'm now wondering if it might have something to do with being in the middle of the night - this seems to be the pattern. If I plan to arrive somewhere in daytime, I inevitably end up still travelling in the wee small hours. This time, when my plan all along is to arrive in the wee small hours, it's going right. Au revoir, daytime travelling; nocturnal wanderings are clearly my forte.

Well, I'll go back to the bizarre French rap sur la radio, and will publish this when I have internet. And my computer. And a photo. A photo of everything going completely, absolutely right. I still can't believe it.

P.S. Adding this as an afterthought, now on the train only four minutes from Leuven: there's nothing quite as nice as nearing your destination and knowing that there is someone there, waiting to meet you. Especially in the middle of the night. For somebody who has absolutely no spatial awareness and therefore is less than fantastic with a map, I do a lot of solo finding my way to places: it's nice not having to do that.

Ha, ha, ha. It's going right. I'm hilarious.


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