Back in Bruxxels, still not my favorite city in the world, but it has some little hidden treasures here and there as well as some fantastic people, now good friends.
I stayed at Matarcar again, I really love this place and all of the people here. The morning I came in everyone was sitting around a banquet size table eating brunch and rehearsing lines for a film that they are about to make there (from what I understand, it is a modern remake of an old french play, I believe 1600s. It is in a style similar to the new remake of Romeo & Juliet, you know the one with Leo). Everyone was wearing a big smile and invited me to join when I came in that morning, so I grabbed a baguette and looked over someone's shoulder to follow along the french script as best I could.
Truth be told, I was a little worried when I did not see my bike where I had left it. It took some searching around the massive laberynth downstairs to locate it, but after a bit of hunting I felt my heart flutter a bit when I finally laid eyes on it again. I cleaned up my beautiful machine and took it for a ride around a sunny Brussels, blissful.
Falafel bars are everywhere in Brussels, most of them are ok, but not as good as Neomandes or most places in New York. I finally found one that I have fallen in love with and will be going back for lunch today. It is called Mr. Falafel, it is a completely vegetarian place. They only have one thing on the menu: a falefel sandwich for 3.50. Handed to you across the small counter comes pita bread with 4 fresh falafel, you are then directed to the salad bar chock full of traditional middle-eastern salads, fresh vegetables, and sauces to pile on top. Simple, independent, cheap, healthy, delicious, authentic; can't ask for much more.
The middle-eastern community is one of my favorite things about this city. The people are colorful and friendly. Everyone pours out onto the streets in the late afternoon to talk to neighbors, play football, and visit the markets. Everyone seems quite tight-knit, I imagine that a lot of people spend their whole lives on the same block.
So my plan is to finally ride into France. I am going to try to stay with a friend of mine in the city tonight if he is available and then head out early in the morning. Riding in this weather is going to be fantastic, no more putting on shoes that are covered with frost first thing in the morning, I might even get tan.