We headed out to go to the aquarium quite early that morning. It was just around the corner from our hostel. When we arrived we saw that the building was like an old apartment building and were really unsure if it was the aquarium. We wandered down the hallway and into the entrance and saw 2 girls in Aquarium shirts. One was on the phone and the other was wandering around. We heard kids down the hall and decided that we would not visit the aquarium as we were quite unsure if it would be worth the money, and the girl never got off the phone while we were standing there… So we left there and wandered to the town centre, we sat in a park for a while as it was a nice day then we went off to the Irish pub for a huge lunch and a few drinks.
After we were very full we headed to the city centre and went to the markets then we headed back to the hostel to pack and get ready for our long bus trip the next day.
We got up quite early, kids running around the halls, as per the last few days… We checked out and headed to the bus stop. We arrived early to make sure it was the right stop and to escape the hostel. We had some lunch while we waited for the bus. We managed to get ourselves prime seats on the bus… great ones! We were so happy… We travelled for hours before our first stop, the driver only spoke Polish so we had no idea what he was saying. Our first stop was at about 4pm and we had 25mins. We stretched our legs and had some snacks, we didn’t realise that we would not be getting another food stop the entire way! We were stopped at border control going into Germany… It was quite scary cause they took select people’s passports away and took them outside to do a check on them (both Kath and mine were taken) haha… We then were followed by police and signaled over.. They were even scarier, they took only selected men’s passports… The guy who was collecting them from our end of the bus was buff and very scary looking and he just glared at you then decided if he was going to take your passport. He double looked at a few men and you could tell even they were scared.
We continued to Berlin without any more disruptions, when we arrived there we had to change buses (we were unaware of this)… We got really bad seats on the next bus as it was already full.. So we got the last 2 seats in the back row, luckily this time we got a window seat. Kath sat on the window seat and I slept on her, next to a man, woman and their kid. We both got a few hours sleep during the night.
We arrived in Brussels on time and made our way to the hostel. It was pretty awful weather at this time and freezing cold, about 6degrees (big change to our 22 in Krakow). We checked into our hostel (we had to wait for ages for our beds), then we rested for the afternoon and cooked some dinner. We both slept really well that night, no suprise given the big day before.
We checked out of our hostel and went to the hotel we stayed in last time we were in Brussels. We were quite early before check in there and had to wait an hour for our room, we got the keys and the guy gave us a twin room, we complained and he told us to push the beds together or wait. So we said we were happy to wait for the double bed (after all it was what we booked!). Another hour passed and we finally got a room. Our room was much smaller then the last one we had when we stayed there, we weren’t too concerned as it was only for 2 nights. We then wandered into the city to try and find the Pride information point, Kath saw a brochure in a gay bar and ducked her head in to grab one and a man was telling her to “come, come”… We saw where the Rainbow Village and the centre of the festivities would be, then we went back to the hotel to relax for the evening.Our room had a bath, so we made use of that to soak for a while… haha.
We got up early and headed down for the breakfast. It wasn’t as good as the last time we were there, there were lots of people and its was like they didn’t accommodate for everyone to eat, as they were out of bread, eggs, coffee cups and plates.. We were quite disappointed and didn’t get to fill up as much as we would have liked to. We wandered into the Rainbow Village and we were very early, so we walked around the city and looked in some shops. The Rainbow Village started to get busy around lunch time, Kath got a beer and we had some chicken pieces. We got some rainbow badges and some other free stuff. We got a little flag, as we only had 1 flag.. so Kath got to have the little one… unfortunately too small to put on as a cape! haha. We followed the crowds to the street where the march was staring, there were lots of “floats”, Ford had one, a local council and some eco friendly people were riding a bike float. There were heaps of people there, some “fire girls” and heaps of other people were giving out some fliers for gay parties and evenings coming up in clubs and pubs around Belgium. We made our way to the front of the parade where there was a huge Rainbow flag… Kath was holding a bit of it for me to take a pic, then we decided just to join on and carry the flag. It was quite fun as we shook it and made it do waves. To do this they made us squat down and hold it flat to the ground, then on the count of 3 we had to lift it up, making a wavey pattern thing. There were about 30-40 people carrying it and when the wind blew under it (under a wave) it was very strong and at times was hard to hold onto. The parade went for 2 hours, by the end of it we were really exhausted from making this flag do waves. Near the end of a parade, on the main street, Kath was over an air vent in the street, and it was there they decided we needed to make the flag wave again, so everytime the gust of wind went under the flag the air was whooshed up from the vent in the ground.. I’m sure it must have been over a sewage line as it stunk really badly. We watched a few floats c0me to the finish area, then we decided to get something to eat and see what was going on in the Rainbow Village. We got some cool metal rainbow chook pins (I will put up a pic of the dressed up chicken) for free. We got some “famous Belgium Fries”. They were quite tasty. We went back to the centre of the Rainbow Village and Kath got a beer, we didn’t really like the music that they were playing so after a while, when it was starting to get cold we decided to get some dinner and go back to the hotel, we were completely exhausted by the time we walked back to the hotel.
We left Brussels mid morning and caught our bus down to Paris. The trip was just under 4 hours. It was not a bad journey, this kid in front of us was really annoying though and he kept sticking his fingers through his seat and touching me jeans, eventually he looked up and Kath glared at him, he didn’t do it again, which was good. Then he started kicking the seat infront of him… He was just very restless and the mother didn’t give him anything to do or play with. When we arrived in Paris we made our way to the Hotel. It is quite nice. Unfortunately our room has a urinal in it, no toilet or shower, but a urinal that is practically in reaching distance of the bed… We went our to get some lunch and see the area around us. We saw 2 mini Arch de Triumps… we aren’t sure if that is what they are, but it looks like it. I have very sore muscles from bending down soo much at Pride.. It hurt a lot to walk today. Kath gave me a massage. We had a quite evening and watched a few movies and went to bed.
Today we got up and went to Versailles. My legs are much better today after my massage and it isn’t so painful to walk today.. The train ride to Versailles took about 30 mins. When we arrived we were quite hungry so we had some breakfast/lunch and then walked up to the Palace. It was really huge… Unfortunately there is a carpark right in front of it which ruins the impact of it when you first see it… As it is Monday everything was closed, except for the gardens. The main building has golden gates and some other golden parts, I would imagine in the sun it would be quite bright! We walked around one side and into the gardens, they were massive and had a “canal” in it. There were also several large ponds.. no fish though! There were lots of statues around the place, some were rather unusual and unbelievable (like a kid holding a bird, without any struggles… hmmm). Others were funny, from where birds had pooped on their heads or something… amusing I thought. The gardens were really well maintained, Kath wanted a go at carving some of the hedges! We spent a while wandering around the palace and then had a nice walk back to the train station. We are leaving the hotel tomorrow morning at 6am, so we have to pack and have an early night tonight.
Next update won’t be so delayed.. we hope!
Pics will be up in Poland, Belgium and France