Trip to Brussels (Day 2)

We left together in the morning from the hotel to the place where the briefing would be held (Some by metro because they took their luggage with them, and the rest by foot), a building in the ‘Bussines’ part of Brussels (Science 14 Atrium LINK), buildings full of other European organizations and embassies of most countries.

Upon arrival we finally met our dear staff of the Centre, Margherita and Maarten were waiting there. We walked into a room with tables with our names, the meeting was great, Margherita and Maarten were wonderful and we were provided tons of information (in terms of the information they provided us I shall discuss it in another post). We received the presence of the center’s director and the MEP in charge of the section in which the Centre depends on. We had a break to eat some snacks, we took advantage of that time to chat with our hosts and socialize with two Vulcanusians who weren’t at the hotel. After that we continued the meeting, and at the end we did a little test of Japanese (Surprise!, I did not study for this Japanese test), so I failed miserably. At the end we took a photo of the group and bid farewell to Margherita and Maarten, who were great with us, and maybe we find one of them in Tokyo.

When we left the building, some went straight to take the plane and the rest went to see the European Parliament for some pictures.

The group in front of the European Parliament
The Parliament and those taxis that where all over the place
Parliament place

After the visit to the European Parliament we went back to the hotel to get changed and get some rest, when night fell we went out for dinner and ended up in the worst-kebab-sandwich in all Brussels. The group then keep on route back to Grand Place, but Alex and I returned to the hotel (My back was killing me xD), and I ended in the bed earlier than expected.

The next day I had to return early to Charleroi as my plane took off at 16:30h, and with going to the bus station, bus travel time, and etc … Before leaving I went in search of a McDonalds to get something to eat away because I did not had much time to find a place to eat at pace (And eating a waffle while looking for the McDonald). Fortunately I did not went to the airport alone, Triantafyllia (the only Greek girl of the group) had her flight at the same time as me, so we went together to the airport (I foresee many conversations regarding robotics with her, I’m sorry Triantafyllia ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).

And with that ended my trip to Brussels, in short, everyone was great and it is going to be a great experience, I have ton of photos, I will look how to add them, making a gallery or as well uploading them to Tumblr.


Trip to Brussels (Day 1)

I must warn my dear readers, in the past five years I have not traveled, nothing, not even a tiny bit. With the exception of the 2 fleeting visits by train to Madrid to take the Japanese  language tests. So you can imagine I have seen little of the world and if I saw something, it was in my comfort zone.

This journey begins the 5th of July with an alarm going off at 4am. My father takes me to Alicante airport to catch my flight that departures at 7am.

It is the first time I travel with Ryanair, and on the Internet they talk shit about them regarding the hand luggage weighting, in the end nothing happened, just showed the ticket and my ID, wait for the doors to open, and within minutes I am inside the plane, a Boeing 747-800, single aisle with three seats on each side. Ryanair randomly assigned me a seat, no window or aisle seat, fortunately the plane is half empty and when the plane took off, the passenger at my right took a window seat, I follow the example and sat near a window. I enjoyed it while taking pictures.

Alicante, where is the green?.
¡Voilá! The green was in belgium
A nice moon
Let’s just say that I was interested in the finishing of the rivets, … things from work (>.<)


After nearly two hours of flight, I landed in Charleroi, while exiting the plane I saw landing another plane of Ryanair, there was no other plane at the airport, so it had to be the plane of my vulcanusian companion Noelia and his Argentine friend Matías, arriving from Madrid. Vulcanus first participant in the flesh, after the first meeting we went directly to the shuttle to Brussels, arriving to our destination after another hour. Once in Brussels we took the metro because we had delayed a bit. [Useless mode ON] I’m not accustomed to usethe metro, in Cartagena there is only bus lines, and after buying the ticket (Thanks to Matías, the ticket-machine only accepted coins and I had no coins, I am so thoughtful …) after that we went separated ways, I towards the hotel, them to the Atomium. I had to pass through the typical control access to get to the metro platform … I could not find anywhere on the control access a place to insert the ticket, I passed the ticket along the door … I searched any openings in the access control … nothing; until I realized that two steps backwards before reaching the control access, there was a kind of device resembling a parking meter, which I did not even realized it was there, luckily no one was around. [/ Useless Mode OFF]

[Useless Mode ON (Again)] Something similar happened once I got in the metro (without knowing in which direction was going), there were only two stops before mine. The metro accelerated in two seconds to full speed, I almost fell. At the first stop I thought that I saw the doors open automatically and there was no button to push, in the second stop nobody got off and the doors did not open … Huh ?, how I was going to get off at the next stop? Fortunately a girl get off, and I discovered that the doors opened pulling manually … (O_o) [/ useless Mode OFF]

Arrived around 11:30 at the hotel, Ferenc, Patrick, Veronica, Edgaras and David were waiting at reception for the rest of us, I joining them after leaving my stuff in the room. The big hurdle, we would understand between almost 45 European people speaking in English ?, Yes, certainly we could and I enjoyed it. Little by little we were getting more vulcanusians and when we were getting hungry, we went out, looking for a place to eat, in short, we ended up in a Japanese restaurant, run by Chinese/Filipino/Asiatic people, but no Japanese. I went for the safest option, fried chicken and noodles.

Tempura, what Joan ate, still not for me.
I was late to take a photo of my food

After eating, we go on tour around the center of Brussels, but weather is a bit against us and it starts to rain in the afternoon, still managed to visit what we set out for, Manneken Pis, Grand Place, Maison Dandoy, galleries Saint Hubert …

Manneken Pis is smaller than what anyone may tell you
Chocolate shops, my downfall, good thing that I refrained myself
Grand Place
A match of I-don’t-know-what
Galleries Saint Hubert – Expensive
Nice urban art
Gofre/Waffle, heavenly thing with ice-cream and strawberries that ate Patrick
My waffle with chocolate, if I ever come back to Brussels, it will be mainly to enjoy this.
Katarina tooks us to a Macarons shop (really expensive, everything in Brussels)

On the Grand Place there was a lot of people watching a kind of game where (As I observed) a team throws a small ball the farthest they can, the other team tries to hit it, returning it further, .. I think, but people were having great time.

After that, we stayed at the hotel, where another large group of vulcanusians who had arrived in our absence was playing billiards, after introductions and small talk during all afternoon, we agreed to have dinner in the same hotel, followed by a constant arrival of more vulcanusians during the meal, after that we went out to see Brussels at night (with the ulterior motive of finding a bar)

Grand Place in the night

And after 20 hours of going from place to place and 4 four hours of sleep, I fell onto my bed at the hotel.


Trip to Brussels (Pre-departure)

Hello people, I have not died yet, I am writing this post because tomorrow, 5th of July I will travel to Brussels where I’ll finally get to meet almost all the “Vulcanusians”, as we have on Monday a briefing by the EU-Japan Centre where advice for our trip will be given, as well as ton of information for other things (visas, accommodation, events, etc …).

Unfortunately I can not upload photos until I return home, although the hotel has WiFi and the iPad is with me, I have no adapters to get photos from the camera to the post. And the phone’s camera, its quality is somewhat lacking (as best).

I leave tomorrow morning, at 05:00, to take the flight at Alicante, taking me to the airport of Charleroi, and then a bus to Brussels, arriving on 11:00 ~

Apart from enjoying these days of sightseeing and to know the other fellows, I seriously considered to fill myself with waffles until I burst.