Germany, First Stop on Europe Trip

I buzzed through the Bangkok morning making my way to the airport, checking in, through immigration, then finally on the plane bound for Dusseldorf, Germany. We coasted along, eventually looking out the window seeing Afghanistan below, looking like one giant beach where the waves had long been gone, but still left their mark.

We finally touched down, getting through immigration was pretty breezy, I was happy to see Anne’s smiling face waiting for me just as I passed through the final checkpoint. She was a Couch Surfing host I’d gotten in touch with, I felt comfortable and happy right away.

We stopped by her house so I could drop my bag off, then it was right onto the streets to go check out Germany for the first time. It was instantly everything I was hoping for, from the streets to the buildings to the bombers of beer we picked up to sip on while sitting on the steps by the river through sunset.

Germany just felt right. She cooked us up some dinner and we talked into the night, all was good.

In the morning I was on my own, ready for my usual wander in a new city. A bakery for a pretzel and sausage, then on towards what I was calling their space needle for a better look. More wandering, beer at a deli and all smiles when they popped open the bottle for me and I was free to wander the streets drinking a beer, a simple freedom frowned upon in most places in the US. That along with a bratwurst and all was right with the world.

I met back up with Anne after her work day, we cruised to a different part of town with tighter alley ways and on to one of the local breweries for a bit. We did a shot of something through a window into a bar, then ended it an Irish Pub of all places. We laughed the way back home and enjoyed the night.

Beer makes me happy, so Germany was a good place to start. Belgium was next, Brussels in particular, the beer would only get better, so this is where I wanted to head to next.

In the morning Anne had a spread of breads, jams and meat, Germany was a happy place. I said my goodbyes and started hoofing it towards the main highway, Brussels on my mind. I also had a friend there I hadn’t yet met in person, so I was looking forward to getting there quickly.

Next thing I knew I was walking through a long tunnel, I still hadn’t found a proper spot to hitchhike from. A cop car flashed their lights at me and told me I couldn’t be up there or on the road and had me carry on. I walked through that part of town until I found the next on ramp, eventually getting my first ride from a Dutch guy in a white truck who took me to a gas station further up.

It took several more rides to get going, next was a young guy that didn’t go all that far, then an older woman who went a little ways and was happy to chat me up, some construction guys who got me over the border, another Dutch guy who was big on politics who got me a sandwich, then a ride in the light rain from a friendly guy who dropped me just past my turn in a small Belgium town.

I walked a bit through town getting back on track, then getting picked up by a French guy, at this point I was getting into the more confusing part of the highway systems and having to make quick turns and be aware of where I was going and where everyone else was heading to avoid being taken too far out of the way.

A construction worker got me back to the other side of the ring road, then finally a restaurant owner picked me up and drove me right into Brussels close enough to where I was going, smoking me out just before he dropped me off.

I was now just a short walk from my friend's house, ahead of me were plenty of good times, primarily delicious beers and geeking out on code.