A Travellerspoint blog

Day 13 - Beer and fritzs

Down and out with those funny Belgians

overcast 17 °C
View Following in the Family Footsteps on Neileeann's travel map.

Well someone is a tired little vegemite! Travelling is often tiring and just the act of getting from A to B, no matter how soft the journey, can take a toll. And so it was today.

While the train trip between Amsterdam and Brussels was only 3 and a bit hours, it did have some minor hiccups along the way. Firstly, 5 mins before our train was due, it was announced that it was cancelled. Normally not a problem – there is always another direct or connecting train within 30 mins. So it was a train to Rotterdam and then another train to Brussels. Well the first train we had to slum it in 2nd class and it was hard jockeying for positioning and baggage space, before the dance of seat reservations begun. So the next 30 mins was spend moving between seats before settling down. No sooner than that and Rotterdam Station popped up, unannounced, so it was a quick exit and then a connecting train to Brussels. An uneventful trip. We were rightly returned to our correct status in 1st class.

Along the way some coloured Africans were taken off the train and questioned by the police at the station and eventually they were left behind. I suppose the immigration problem is more in your face here. This was one example, but I saw another example in Germany. The police were conducting a car stop and instead of doing the breathalyses – they were searching people’s cars and baggage and in some instances taking photos of the passengers. All very heavy handed when you think of needing probable cause. I had to asked for directions, so I also asked the cops what was the searches for and he gave a feeble excuse of this is a known speeding area (not that these cars were speeding).

Anyway, back off the high horse, and back to the subject at hand – our grand tour of Europe. Once arrived, I had to go to one place to get the keys for our accommodation, So I left Lee-ann at the station. 1 hour latter I came back to pick up little precious and she was all but falling asleep.

Arrived at the accommodation (and we are back to space), but it was a 3 storey walk up some very narrow stairs with tiny steps. Sensing the horns of rage growing out of Lee-ann’s head I sent her up ahead and carried the bags up. Not feeling particularly brave, I said that she should stay here and I will go do a laundry wash and bring back some wine and pizza for dinner.

And so it was, a relatively minor day with nothing much happening.

As for Brussels, I had fond memories of this city. Mainly because of the people I meet here last time and the generally dagginess of the people and their lives. No flash clothing here. It is a working man’s town (apart from K Rudd and the UN crowd) where the national food and drink is chips and beer. Still hasn’t changed too much. It is the sort of place that Bruce Springsteen could write endless songs about the plight of the working man.

Really not a lot to see here apart from the Grand Place (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Place) which is still one of my personal favourite European squares. It doesn’t have the grandeur or pizzas of other city squares, but it is one where I can really picture its function in older times as a true market square set in amongst the opulence of the ruling class (kings and churches). Unfortunately one side of the square is undergoing renovations, so it does detract somewhat from its overall enclosure and sense of place.

Posted by Neileeann 02:09 Archived in Belgium

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