Skye to Oban: Czech construction workers, Fred/Ivo, guitar Murdo, traveller Cath, Fedor, Keith
Oban to Glasgow: Community guy, AK-47 Carl, Caterer John
Brussels to Castle: starship troopers Nickol, Surveyor Jean Christmas, Semon, old man Jaque, nurse Maryam, land rover guy
So last I checked in, I was on the isle of skye, in Scotland. Now, however, I’m in Belgium, deeeeep in the Ardenne forest of Belgium… How? Why? Here we go.
So Skye was grand, but it had been too long. So as travellers must do, I moved on to my next adventure. I hitched down to Oban, where I couch surfed in an old WW2 signal tower( Oban being important for shipping back in them old days). It is lived in by a man named Leo, a very uncle’ish type man who heats the house ( and the water supply) with waste vegetable oil, and uses a composting toilet. it was pretty quiet and mellow, and we even share a love for my personal favourite band (Dead Can Dance). I spent a week there, met some good Italian folk, and even scored my best victory in the ways of travel so far – I found a man selling a Megabus ticket from Glasgow to Brussels forrrrrrr 15 pounds! Two tickets, actually, he couldn’t find anyone else to buy the other. To reiterate why this is grand, I’m heading to Budapest, but planned to visit this castle as a halfway mark… which is conveniently next to Brussels ( by Canadian standards!). I was pretty ecstatic. this meant I could spend a few more days in Scotland. He ended up giving them to me for 10.
The hitch to Glasgow was completed in three rides, and I ended up staying with the guy I first stayed with at the beginning of my trip, Krishna. An awesome friend to have. After a few days, it was time for my 17 some odd hour bus trip.
Now I figured a bus ride might be normal, even for me. It was… until I got to London. I didn’t sleep much, and my thanksgiving dinner comprised of chicken/cheese sandwiches, and whiskey… not too bad. I then ran into Cameron, as I departed the bus.
Combat boots, a military pack, and a scruffiness that could only be attributed to another hitcher… or maybe a homeless person. He asked me if I was hitching out of London, I replied no – I’m heading to Brussels. Apparently that was also his destination. I remembered how I had an extra ticket, and offered it up. He promplty gave me a hug, and then we introduced ourselves. We then split the cost of the tickets. 5 pounds each!
We then headed off into the station to find out just what we were supposed to do next, as the ticket nor the driver gave much of any information. Eventually we found our check in spot, and after the company not having the ticket numbers on the passenger list (which they corrected after leaving us for around 10 long minutes of paranoia). We figured we were set. Then we met Jones.
Jones is from the Domincan Republic, and he was after a cheap airline ticket back home. After spying out my tablet, he asked to use it to try and book said ticket. “Just quickly.” A few hours along our bus ride later, he still hadn’t successfully gotten it. my battery was drained to maybe 10%. I still had to get info on my trip from Brussels to the castle, and download a couple of maps. By the time I got it back, there was no more access to wifi.. oh well. Myself and Cameron got to hear Jones speak of his troubled life, in a way that was almost a lecture. We did a lot of “yup”ing and “uh huh”ing. He wasn’t the type to debate or discuss things with.
So a few more hours later, we get to Brussels. I say my goodbyes, and I jump out. It was late and I had no idea where to go. Then it started raining. So I hid away under some cover and thought it over. I finally decided I would break and take a hostel for the night… my first in…. Hey, three months of travel, today! After looking for hours and given constant misdirections, and getting soaking wet, I finally found one. I feasted on my sandwiches, showered, and passed out.
The next day I was happy to leave. I downloaded my maps, made yet more sandwiches, and walked across the city to my hitching spot out of town. After a long walk, it only took 15 minutes to get a ride out. 5 more rides got me to the castle.
I do love castles, so driving up to this one made me even more excited than I was. It’s not too large, but enough to impress. I found the nearest Hare Krishna, and he promplty showed me up to the dormitory next to the castle. I was lead to the top where the other male volunteers sleep, with a few other “Devotees.” I was introduced, and then taken to the basement of the castle for a late snack, which is basically the food that’s offered to the deities – and of course that food ends up somewhere else after… In our bellies. And it is delcious food indeed! Especially the milk.
The next day I was introduced to yet more of the Hare Krishnas, over breakfast, most of them names I have a hard time remembering not to mention spelling out. They are all extremely nice, however. I felt right at home. I was put to work digging trenches and building garden beds. Lovely manual labour. I’ve been enjoying it.
So I’ve only been here since tuesday, and it is now Thursday night. But it is getting to be time to leave for Budapest – saturday. If I didn’t have a concert to go to, I could easily stay a month, maybe more…I might come back after Budapest, though. Why not, eh?
So life is grand and good. Meeting so many good people in such little time is always a great thing. I’ve been learning a bit about the religion as I talk to various people. It holds many similiarities to Buddhism, which I find very interesting as well, so the more I learn, the better!
The area is spectacular. The Ardenne is huge, green, and the roads in many places are flanked and almost covered over top by trees. It has excellent vibes.
There is soon to be a late night snack, though, (late night offering!) so I’m going to tie this up here!
I quite like how I’m not missing meat.
Not all those who wander are lost