In 2013, my brother came from Mexico to Europe to meet with me and make an interrail trip through several countries for New Year’s Eve and Christmas.
He came to Brussels and I went to pick him up at the airport. It was pretty cool as we hadn’t seen each other in person for a bit more than a year.
My cousin who had been living in a student house (named in Belgium “kot”) in Brussels for several months had now left to take a job in Germany but said his ex-housemates would be fine to host us one night and we could stay in his former room, which had been empty for weeks.
Once we got there and were greeted by his ex-housemates, we went to the room so my brother could have some rest before going sightseeing and I could check some stuff online and make a few plans for the upcoming trip. My brother was sleeping and I was sitting on the chair next to him with the ipad when suddenly, after maybe one hour, I hear someone turning the handle of door, it opened and the owner of the house, startled at seeing us said “and you are… who?” After a moment’s hesitation, I began explaining that we were the cousins of the ex-tenant and his friend on the next dorm let us stay for the night to which the owner said “ah so it’s his fault then” and knocked at his door immediately. The Belgian guy came out and the owner said “So you let them in. You have to ask for permission first, we need to have a talk later” Then he turned at me and told me “Well, I’m signing a contract right now with the new tenant (who was standing next to us all dumbfounded with his bags ready) so you need to take your stuff and leave the room right now”. I apologized, explained what happened to my half-awake brother and gathered all our things. The Belgian guy said we could leave our things in his room and wait for him at the kitchen downstairs to plan what we would do next.
We waited a few minutes at the kitchen, when he arrived and said “you know what, you can stay in the big room in this floor, he will never manage to rent it because it is too expensive and the other housemates are always hosting people there in secret” the he told us that we could leave our bags in his room and he would leave the lock open so we could take them anytime if we needed to.
We then left and went sightseeing around Brussels, checking out the cool Christmas market and enjoying some waffles so delicious, they managed to make us ignore the cold wind making our noses drip. In the evening, we came back to the house just to find that the door to the room was locked. We asked the other housemates and they said he had gone partying and probably wouldn’t even come back during the night. We decided to get some rest and go back to check if he was up at about 2am. We were worried about getting our stuff because we had a flight to Spain early the next morning. Nobody was there still.
Then we decided to get some sleep and wake up really early, at about 5am, to try to find this guy or just try and get our things back somehow. We went up to his room and still, nobody there. We then tried the card technique, sliding it through the side attempting to push the lock open to no success. The frame of the door was pretty fragile and the thought of simply forcing it open crossed my mind but then I realized it wouldn’t be a nice thing to leave him with a broken door.
The next thing I could think of was to wake up the Spanish guy who lived in the next dorm and see if he could contact this Belgian guy somehow. He came out with his sleepy face with a very helpful attitude and tried phoning him to no avail. We then tried again the card trick but saw that the lock was square and went quite deep so it would be impossible to open it that way. Suddenly an idea crossed his mind, maybe the Belgian guy had left his window open and we could enter through it. I decided to give it a shot, took my shoes off, opened the Spanish guy’s window and climbed outside to walk on the gutter, on the 4th floor of the building to reach the next window. To my pleasant surprise, the window was unlocked so I could open it and enter the room to my stuff. I tried to open the door from the inside but it was a double sided one so the key was absolutely needed. Then with no other options left, I took the bags one by one and passed them from window to window while my amused brother took pictures of me with his phone. Once done, relief ran through my body, I thanked the Spanish guy who happily told me he wouldn’t say anything to the Belgian guy because he wanted to see his face when he realized our stuff wasn’t there but the lock was on and the room was left intact. We then left to the airport with no further troubles.
To be continued…