We got up early in order to get our things together and make our way to our coach for a 10am departure. Before we left, we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hostel, then checked out. We took a bus to Victoria Station (which was super packed; I forgot to account for rush hour crowds at 8:30am). When we arrived, we made our way to the Tube area in order to return and cash out our Oyster cards. Between that and the deposit returned from renting the towel at the hostel, I had a little over 10 pounds. Romeo also had about as much. We decided not to worry about trying to exchange this for Euros since there would probably be a fee that wouldn't make it worth it.
Instead, we hit the Marks and Spencer's next to the station and loaded up on snacks and sandwiches for the road. I also got a salad, which turned out to be incredible! It was quinoa, lots of types of beans, feta, avocado, and a very light dressing. I took a picture of the ingredients in hopes that I would be able to recreate it later at home.
Anyway, after replenishing our goodies, we walked to the Victoria Coach Station which is about 5 minutes walking away from the train station. We checked in and waited to get on the bus.
The trip was mostly uneventful. However, the coach did go to Dover before crossing the channel and I was excited to glimpse the white cliffs. Once we got to the French side of the channel, our passports were checked, but thankfully there was no crazy baggage examination or interrogation.
We arrived in Brussels and were able to secure our place on the coach to Budapest for Wednesday before we began the trek to the hostel. We were pretty disoriented and ended up walking the wrong way for a little bit before we realized our mistake. Maybe 15 minutes later we reached the hostel to check in. The guy who helped us was really nice; he was from DC and his parents were diplomats in Belgium. He even spotted us 1 Euro when we were told we could not use my credit card for the balance on the hostel because it was less than 100 Euros and had to scrounge our Euros together.
The hostel where we checked in was actually not the hostel we were going to be staying in, so after this process we got our keycards and walked another 15 minutes to the hostel we were actually staying at. The area we were in was really good and upon consulting the map, it appeared that we were close to all the good bars.
When we got to our hostel, I pretty much cringed. It was terrible, just as most youth hostels probably are. Beds packed into a tiny room, barely room to walk through. No privacy curtains and the lockers were in another room than where our beds were. The bathroom smelled terrible, but it was at least moderately clean. We immediately put our things up and headed for a bar. We went to a place called Celtica that was recommended from our check-in guy. It ended up being the same place Romeo had been to when he was in Brussels 7 years ago with his brother. It was great because before midnight, a lot of their bottled beers were only 2 Euro each. We each had a few but when it got pretty busy around 11pm, we left and walked around the square behind our hostel. It had a big church and some other beautiful buildings all lit up in the night sky.
We turned in after that in order to be well rested for a full day the next day. We woke up around 9am and got ready. The hostel didn't offer breakfast (not surprisingly...) and I got locked in the shower (I couldn't figure out why the door wouldn't open and I started to freak out yelling to Romeo on the other side to help me). It ended up the door was just stuck and Romeo was able to yank it open for me. After that I decided to use the other shower outside our room...
Finally ready, we headed out in search of food. We ended up having a Thai lunch set. I had spring rolls and yellow chicken curry; Romeo had a variety of appetizers (sampler) and pad thai. Everything was really good but pretty light. We walked around trying to decide where to go to sample some beers. We ended up back at Celtica for a few hours, allowing Romeo to try more of the beers on the 2Euro menu. We left in search of dinner around 6:30 and ended up getting Egyptian food.
Finally, when the rain stopped, we decided to go back to the pretty square and see if we could find a bar with a view of the square. We ended up finding the perfect place. While it didn't have the view we wanted, it had something we had been searching for: a for-real sampler of beers: 3 beer samples for 6 Euro. They weren't too big, about 15 cL, but it was enough. We each got a sampler and shared most of it (some of Romeo's I couldn't handle). Satisfied that we finally found a way to try a variety of beers, we decided to come back to the bar the following day before our bus.
And we did exactly that: after getting up and "checking out" (stripping our beds and throwing the linens in a hamper, and putting our keys in a box), we dropped off our bags at the check-in hostel's luggage room, and got some lunch. Finally, we were ready to hit the bar again. We tried another 9 kinds of beers (actually, I repeated one or two that I knew I liked hehe). Pleasantly tipsy, we headed for the bus station after picking up our bags.
Of course, the crazy weather from the day before hit again; the blue skies suddenly became gray, and, loaded down with bags, we once again huddled under the umbrella, which was threatening to break at any moment. Fifteen minutes later, we trudged into the Eurolines waiting area soaking wet and miserable. The bus arrived a bit late, but we finally took off and began the longest bus ride of the trip: nearly 20 hours to go before we would arrive in Budapest, Hungary.