Party Buses, Trains and Exhaustion: Our Day Trip to Belgium

Julie Alderman
September 16, 2013

My friends and I decided for our first expedition we would head to Bruges, a small town in Belgium, for a day. We found a train route that would get us to Bruges in the late morning and get back a little before 1 am the next day. Armed with snacks and coffee, we got there a little late but still in one piece.

Our day was filled with fun. We went to a French fry museum, a chocolate museum, the Church of Our Lady (one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen) and then it was time to leave.

We were supposed to have three connections to make on the way back – not that lasted longer than 30 minutes. Well, our second train out of Antwerpen was delayed, meaning we’d miss all our remaining connections.

If you take eight students, arrange them in a train station in a foreign country, add a bit of mild stress, a language none of us understand (Flemish is still a thing) and a dash of exhaustion you get one hellish journey home.

We got off a train to Roosendaal and found four platforms. We ran as a group from platform to platform hoping that we would find a train that would take us home. A few people broke away from the group to consult a conductor, who encouraged us to run out of the train station and into the parking lot to one of the buses that would take us to a different train station to catch a train to Rotterdam, and from Rotterdam get on a train to Amsterdam. We put all our faith in this man and ran as fast as we could.

We found three empty buses in the parking lot. Discouraged, we walked back towards the train station and sat on the concrete. Keep in mind, it was about midnight and we had all been up since about 5 am and have not stopped moving. As we contemplated the options we had: getting a hostel for a night, call an expensive taxi cab, bribe a bus driver to drive us home, a man asked us where we wanted to go. We told him and he pointed to a bus that he said would take us to the magical station the conductor had mentioned. Exstatic, we boarded a bus that looked like something high school kids took to prom and headed out.

Complete with a dark light and bad pop music, we all thought of how cozy a bed sounded. Of how we longed to sleep for days. How everything seemed to be against us. As we got off the bus, we spotted a train two stories up that was on its way to Amsterdam Centraal. Again, we ran and got in the train at the last possible second. We sat down, smiles on our faces and hope in our eyes.

We finally got home around 1:30 am. As stressful as our evening was, we all had fun and had a great time together.

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Julie Alderman

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I&rsquo;m Julie Alderman, a junior at the George Washington University studying political communication, and I&rsquo;m ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Amsterdam. I love strong coffee, good writing and all types of music (from opera to country). I hail from Manlius, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse and I am ready to live it up in Amsterdam and travel all around Europe!</span></p>

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