I have only 30% power left on my cell phone, but I just checked into a hostel here in Lille, France, located on the northern border of France and Belgium, just a few miles each from Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels where I have been for the past few days. I visited Waterloo on the way to France, just south of Brussels. You can see some of the destinations on my journey here:
By the way Waterloo was just a historian tourist’s place. I visited, paid my respects to Napoleon, ate a lovely lunch, and then left.
Waterloo, of course, was where Napoleon lost a big battle against the English (Wellington) and the Prussians. This was also the end of Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign of France–all this on June 18, 1815, almost exactly 201 years ago! It’s directly south of beautiful Brussels. I did not stay very long at Waterloo–I decided I just didn’t like this guy…and it was hard to give him my time of day.
I then proceeded to make my way across the French border and on down to Lille.
Lille is very nice and clean…I am thinking of getting a glass of French wine to congratulate myself on making it all the way to France!
There is such a strong sense of style here. I was taken aback by all the beauty at just the train station alone. The French are so classy!
My left ankle hurts. I am thinking that I might have to wrap it as it is starting to swell a bit. It could be from all the walking I did yesterday…10 miles in and around Brussels. Not to mention all the walking I have been doing for the past 4 weeks!
It’s kind of hard to walk properly on cobblestones, in case you don’t know. In the Netherlands it was red brick clay and in Belgium it was cobblestones gray stone squares. I wonder what kind of cobblestones they will have for my poor feet and ankles in France?
Anyway, so far I have this room here at the hostel in Lille all to myself, this being a Wednesday night, so there are not so many tourists. I just made a one-night reservation but it’s so nice and clean here that maybe tomorrow I’ll spend another night and check out the local history.
It started to rain as I got off the train this late afternoon, but then it has been raining almost every afternoon all the way from Amsterdam down here to the northern French border (frontière). (Doctors Without Borders is also known in French as “Médecins Sans Frontières.”)
I went downstairs after dropping off my backpack in this lovely room. (There are no surprise roommates for the night, at least not yet.)
I then proceeded to celebrate my arrival in France by having two (not one) glasses of wine. It was a dry French white, my favorite (sorry California!), to help me sleep tonight. Like I would have any problems…now I am really ready to sleep.