After two weeks of relative hermitude in London, I couldn't have been happier to be meeting friends in Paris on June 1st.

Under the red neon sunglasses on Boulevard Voltaire in the 11th district, Lauren, Meghann, Zac and I reuinted, excitedly exchanging our most recent batches of worldly stories over our favorite Parisian kebabs.

Lauren had just returned from Amsterdam, Zac from South Africa and Japan, and Meghann from her apartment on the other side of town. Conversation went late into the night over South African wine drunk in various public Parisian nightscapes. The mood was high even with the inevitable parting-of-ways we knew would come in the morning hanging over our heads.

The next few days flew by despite a short bout of illness. The daylight hours were spent mostly seeing the sites I missed my first time in Paris, with some repeats for the sake of first-timer Zac. We hit Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre, Luxembourg Gardens, the Catacombs, and Sacre Coeur during the day, and caught a couple concerts during the nights.

Before we knew it, June 6th rolled around and we packed onto a midday train to Brussels, Belgium. It didn't take me long to fall in love with the tiny country. What it lacks in size, it makes up easily in character. Our first order of business was to get a waffle in the train station. At €1.50, it might have been the best thing I've eaten in Europe.

After settling into our hotel, we got ourselves a proper meal and headed to a local university for (yes,) another concert. Scheduled to start at 9, the first act didn't take the stage until nearly 10. They played two full sets, with a break in between, and were laughably bad. The following two acts were great, though, and the show didn't end until nearly 2AM--an unheard of hour in the States.

Rather than turn in, Zac and I made the most of our only night in Brussels. I had heard of a bar called the Delirium Cafe, which boasts the world's largest beer selection; over 2000 beers are available for purchase. Not a chance was I going to miss that.

At the bar, Zac and I were introduced to a couple of amazing Belgian beers and two Belgian students: a guy named Martin and his girlfriend, whose name sounded like "Audrey," but with way more vowels. Due to their relative inability to converse in English, we chose to speak the international languages of beer and cheese; we had a great time hanging out until the 4:30AM last call.

By the time we had returned to our hotel, the sun was rising on a Saturday morning in Brussels, giving us time for just a few hours of sleep before we set out to a much quieter town: Bruges.



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