Well I spoke too soon; after leaving Koln we only went as far as Düren where we had to change trains for the rest of the journey to Brussels. Exchanging quite a cool ICE for another stifling completely airless one. Made it a very gruelling and tiring journey again and arriving at Brussels I wanted to do nothing except come straight to my hotel. Here I am then. Check in to my room by 605pm. Tomorrow is Belgian National Day and after Bastille Day in Nice, Brussels I think is braced for the worst. I should try to enjoy tonight as much as I can. Apparently it is 33°C in Brussels right now (doesn’t feel that bad) and thunderstorms are expected later. I have neither coat nor umbrella; let us hope I can find a porn cinema or a knocking shop to shelter in.
Back in the Max Hotel, and oh I cannot help thinking “Home Sweet Home”. It started raining as soon as I started walking down from Gare du Nord. Lovely. I’m not sure I’m ever happier than when in Brussels in the rain. We will see if there is ANY excitement for me later to justify this. Vienna was disappointing last time, Berlin was massively disappointing (the final nail in the coffin I’m afraid); Brussels can you salvage anything for me?
Gliding along at 222 km/h through foul filthy weather. Cold, lashing rain as night begins to fall over the German countryside. Still another 20 minutes to Spandau. 856pm. Ten minutes to Spandau. A silent train. No one talking. So peaceful, civilised. 243 km/h.
1910 Ten minutes late already after getting stuck at Hamm (as always), we now grind to a halt in the middle of the German countryside—a very waterlogged-looking countryside—halfway to Hannover. As if the journey was not long and arduous enough. Heavy dark grey skies, raining. It will be 930 before we reach Berlin today, and probably 1030pm till I get to the Kanthotel. Quite tempted to get a taxi straight to my hotel, as it is so late. I’ve been travelling since 730 this morning; I can treat myself to a bit of luxury, at the end of the journey.
Autismus, Lotta, The Cold Icy Air of the Mountains and Casanova already published, and To Confound and The Double Life soon to join them. The ever more lethal world we live in makes the seeking out of pleasure ever more urgent. 121am now. Just 6 hours and I am out of here on bus to St Pancras, on train 855am, at Gare du Midi 1209, then my Berlin train leaves 245pm. Time I have deposited my new huge bag in a locker, had some drinks in Orient Express that will be 1pm surely. Hardly worth going up to Cine Paris in that time, and yet there is too much time to kill if I do not. I cannot stay in Le Coin that long I think. But oh I suppose I could START my walk up to Cine Paris from there. Should be VERY rainy, even thunderstormy when I arrive, that might encourage me to take the long walk. Or just enjoy several beers in Le Coin then stroll back. Stupid to be stuck SO far away from Midi HAVING to take that massive long walk back to get my train. Yes, save Cine Paris for Thursday. Just Orient Express and Le Coin to pass the 2 hours around Midi. Then hopefully a nice quiet seat on the train to Koln and thence from Koln to Berlin so I can even doze off.
I have been awake since 1pm Sunday; it hardly bears thinking about that when I leave work I have to start my 13 HOUR journey to Berlin—still without any sleep. What will I find when I get there. Any chance to rediscover the old pleasures? After all I have found them in last 2 years in Brussels and Vienna. There should be plenty of rain about at least, though most of it Monday when I am stuck in trains.