(Spring, 2014) – Thinking back, the night was pretty stupid yet crazy where we wanted to save a night of accommodation by taking the night bus from Amsterdam to Ghent. Didn’t think that the journey took only 4 hours and we arrived in Ghent very early at 2am. The 4hours of nap in bus was totally not enough after a full long day of exploration in Amsterdam. It was a motel’s carpark that we alighted and there’s no sight of public transport or cab at that hour. The motel’s reception was closed too and not a proper place for us to sit.
No maps, no internet access. But still had a fraction of Google Map loaded earlier in Amsterdam and we were an hour far (by walking) from the old town where we would be staying on the following night.
Assuming that check-in time is about 1.00pm, we had like about 10 hours of not-knowing-what-to-do. ‘Should we just walk to the the old town?’ or ‘Should we wait till the sunrise for the public transport to take us there?’ It’s like 5degree celcius in this spring midnight weather. No where we could see a corridor or corner that we could sleep like a homeless and it’s cold.
After 30 minutes of hesitation, ‘fuck, let’s just do the walk and look for any corner that we could just rest ourselves’. We past by a street of pubs that was very happenings, but a 24h fast food restaurant selling fried chicken caught our attention. Ordered a set and share among 5 of us, we tried to spent as long as we could in the restaurant, and each of us tried to close our eyes on a rotating manner, but later we were shoo off still. We were 45 minutes away from the old town, and we found a real subtle corner that we thought we could spend our night there till morning. Bags down, and we’ve tried to nap through the dirty floor and cold night. I couldn’t do it, it’s too cold, but a friend snore right away on the floor and 4 of us were just wide awake. ‘We are so homeless right now’.
5.30am it was and we only rested for like 30 minutes in this homeless corner of ours. The sound of bird chirping could be heard and drunk party goers started to make their way back. It just doesn’t felt safe and very tired, we were.
Dawn arrived and we were at the fringe of old town. Nothing to see at this wee hours and we didn’t even feel excited arriving at the old town because check-in time was still far away and the backpacks were heavily tiring us.
Not far into the old town, the hotel was just in front of us! Dashed into the hotel and the warm atmosphere and sofa greeted us. ‘Well, having able to sit on the sofa is better that by the road side right?’ Thinking that European hotel is stricter than Asian’s hotel, I went upfront to reception just to check what was the earliest time we could check-in, ‘Oh, you could check in as early as you want, right now.’ Shocked to hear about that which we probably think that the hotel was pretty empty.
Because it’s a room for 2 and we had 5 in the company, 3 of us spent a bit time wandering around at the lobby before sneaking up to the hotel room.
6.45am, we were in the hotel, getting ready to have a good sleep till noon before beginning our tour of Ghent, Belgium. What a journey and we got ourselves an extra free night!
The hotel (Ibis Ghent Centrum) was just too spacious for 5 of us, 1 big king-size bed and 1 sofa bed. Perfect!