Category Archives: Belgium

Dubai and Brussels

One sunny day, the government of Ethiopia decided to cut off the entire internet. It was only for  ten days, so that was alright. The reason were the upcoming exams and the fear of exam papers being spread on the social media as had happened last year.

One woman in the hotel, with an Eastern European accent, said she would leave Ethiopia. She couldn’t live without internet she said and I had to admit that she looked pale, as if life was leaving her quickly.

From Addis Ababa I flew to Brussels with a long layover in Dubai. Although it was after eight in the evening, it was still 40 degrees and stifling hot. Besides the debilitating heat, there are several more reasons why the city is such a popular travel destination, but I can’t really think of any at the moment. Shopping  malls apparently….

The airport is not a bad one when it comes to lengthy layovers. There are many vending machines that sell cheap snacks and coffee for under a dollar (3 to 4 dirhams). Drinking water is freely available as is wifi.

In Brussels I entertained myself with a short walk in the surrounding countryside and this is where I saw a cow. It looked very peaceful and I made a photograph of it:

Brussels_cow

It made me think of lunch.

Another highlight of Brussels was a visit to the Magritte museum:

Magritte was an artist who made beautiful paintings of a ball (top left) , a woman (bottom left) and some creatures that seem to have come in peace even though the subcontractor had goofed up the windows of their hotel (right).

 

Brussels

My hosts in Brussels took me to the Atomium. The total height of the structure is 102 metres and it’s total weight at it’s inception was 2,400,000 kg. During a renovation in 2006 they added another 100,000 kg. After the World Expo in 1958, for which it was purposely built, they forgot to tear it down again. It involves a lot of qeueuing to get anywhere beyond the entrance.

It’s fairly symmetrical as the picture below shows.

Brussels

The Atomium in Brussels

The day before I had packed my tent at a decrepit campsite with  a predominantly  Polish clientele living in mobile homes. The friendly Flemish  owner wasn’t particularly concerned with matters of hygiene, but it sufficed for a single night.
On my way to Brussels I followed scenic routes along little rivers and canals. The last twenty kilometres confronted me with the first serious  hills sofar and I used gears I had never had any use for before. Slogging my way up In this fashion I reached new heights, as did my saddle pain which, I am afraid to say, left my buttocks in a sorry state.

In Brussels I enjoyed my first rest day.