So no shit, there I was in Belgium with no housing,* two nights remaining at my hostel, and a first day of work filled utterly with allergies from Hell. Not to mention that I spent 30 minutes trying to find out where exactly I was supposed to go to get to my job before I finally managed to get in. Therefore, it stands to reason that I would absolutely and utterly roll a botch on my Urban Knowledge (orienteering) check when trying to get back to my hostelj. And that I would have left my overlarge, overpriced map and my laptop in my hostel room.
The walk back from work to my hostel is supposed to take 30 minutes. This is a walk that I have done twice before without any problems. Today it took four hours. This is not a level of lost which one can easily achieve. One must WORK to obtain this level of being lost.
My job is located at the Royal Military Academy, which is close to the “European Section” of the city. This is slightly east of the city center of Brussels, which is also confusingly termed “Brussels.” My hostel is in Saint-Joost-en-Nood (or however this is spelled), a portion of the city just north of the city center. I managed to get from my workplace to the city center perfectly fine, and from the city center to Saint-Joost-en-Nood perfectly fine. The problems arose upon entering Saint-Joost-en-Noode. Apparently my street had bene equipped with a cloaking device. I walked through Saing-Joost for four hours. Like a poor marksman, I kept...missing...the target!
It went something like this. “OK, this is where I make the turn to enter Saint-Joost. Then I go forward, it zigzags a bit, and then I'm back. Um. This doesn't look familiar. I must have gone past it. Let me wander around a bit, I'm sure I'll find it.”
*finds out that he has walked entirely through Saint-Joost*
“Um. Let's try that again. Just start walking back, and...”
*finds out he has almost returned to the European Section*
“Well, great. Guess I should start going back and pretend this never happened. Hey, I was here before, and then I got lost. At least this won't happen again.”
It happens again.
I finally swallowed my pride and resolve of “totally-going-to-find-this-through-wandering-really” and asked a storekeeper when I went to get some soda. She didn't know.
And then suddenly, there in front of me, Dwaarstraat, the street the hostel is on. The wandering method worked! It just took 3 hours 30 minutes. And now I am lying in my bunk, feeling my throat crawl with allergies, hoping that my housing situation will go OK, and thinking that in 12 hours, I will have to be walking once more...
*Someone informed me that I was supposed to start these sorts of stories with that opening. It's not 100% true, I'm trying to get an apartment, but so far there have been difficulties like my debit card not being accepted yet.