I wasn’t murdered last weekend. “Well, good for you,” you might say. “Why on earth would you be thinking such a thing?” It’s all because Martin and I went to a foreign city to meet some people we’d ‘met’ online. After all, everyone knows the internet is full of strange people, don’t they?
Work colleagues delighted in jesting about our weekend away in Brussels, imagining grisly fates for us. However, the weird and wonderful thing about modern friendship is that it can spring from the most unlikely places.
Martin and Chris ‘met’ on an online forum for baseball enthusiasts and struck up a firm friendship. We of course live in England and Chris and his family live in New Jersey, so the relationship was confined to email. Hopes of meeting up in person were sparked by Chris’ European holiday plans; they were flying out of Brussels, a mere train ride away for us.
We’d planned to meet for drinks in our hotel. While I was looking forward to meeting them, I was a little nervous beforehand; what would they be like? Would we have enough to talk about? I needn’t have worried, as we talked the night away. We shared lots in common with Chris, his wife Alison and daughter Casey. I was particularly excited to learn we shared a common hatred of Coldplay.
Brussels is interesting as a European capital: it hasn’t quite got the grandeur of Paris or Berlin, but on the plus side it’s quite contained, making it a perfect place for a relaxing weekend away. A particular bonus is that it’s only two hours away on the Eurostar, which is such a civilised way to travel.
The sights in Brussels worth seeing include the Comic Book museum, atomium and botanical gardens. The Grand Place is pretty spectacular; we were lucky enough to see a light show on our last night, which was really pretty. Oh, and the numerous chocolate boutiques are definitely worth a visit! The Mannekin Pis is a bit rubbish, to be honest. Walking around, soaking up the atmosphere and spotting the odd surprise Tintin mural is a pleasant way to pass the time.
Not much sightseeing gives you more time to enjoy the things Brussels is famous for: chocolate, beer (mine’s a Leffe blonde, thanks), moules and waffles. Mmmmm…….
Anyway, enough of the tourism plug. We had a brilliant two nights in Brussels, but the 24 hours we spent with our new friends went too quickly!
I’m fascinated about how the internet has turned our world in to a global village. Without it, we’d never have had the chance to meet such fabulous people.
We’re now firm, real-life friends and are looking forward to our next meet-up; let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long!