Post by kerouac2 on Aug 2, 2017 16:39:07 GMT
I suppose I could add this to my other thread A bit of Brussels which is already 4 years old, but times change so it's probably best to start all over in a different year. Since I royally allowed myself to spend two nights in the city this time, I was not quite as frantic as in past visits, but of course I also learned that Brussels deserves even more time, and I will have to up the ante at some time in the future.
In any case, Brussels is only 1h20 from Paris when you take the Thalys TGV. I was surprised to see that I had obtained tickets in the 1st class carriage at a very low 2nd class fare (20 euros each way) due to the time of year and the lack of businessmen. However, the carriage, as comfortable as it was, did not receive any 1st class service -- newspapers and breakfast. I have had real 1st class service in the past, which I very much appreciated, but at the same time I remembered how much better 1st class used to be before the TGV. I had to go to Brussels on business once with a colleague on the old trains which took a bit more than two hours (maybe not, but naturally considerably longer than the current travel time), and we had a magnificent and leisurely breakfast wilh silver tableware and coffee pots and fantastic croissants and tartines. Not possible anymore in modern times!
And so, in the blink of an eye, I disembarked at the Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station.
Just about everywhere in Brussels benefits from embellishments by the famous comic art characters, and Bruxelles-Midi is no exception.
Then it was into the metro, actually the tram, to get to my hotel. We foreigners are a bit confused by the difference, since both of them run underground in the centre. (Maybe I'll get a chance to explain the pré-métro later.)
It fascinates me how the underground world of various cities can have so many of the same shops and yet look so different.
I quickly arrived and disovered that my accommodations at the Adagio could absolutely not be any closer to the De Broukére station. It was all in the same building.
After an amusing episode at check-in, where I was given a room that turned out to be still occupied by a sleeping person (the staff were mortified when I returned to reception to tell them), I got a new room, probably better than the first one, on a higher floor. This was my first time at Adagio, which is a suite hotel, and I was frankly amazed by how well equipped the kitchen was -- I could have had a dinner party for at least a dozen people (well, maybe I would have needed a bit more silverware). I was really sorry than in my two-day stay, I was only able to use the microwave and the refrigerator. I wanted to boil pasta, chop vegetables and create fabulous salads. Maybe some other time.
Then I was out again in a few minutes to see the quirks of the city. Some of the fake façades could have been faked a bit better.
Here is my building again, the former Galeries Anspach department store, the main department store of the city until it went bankrupt in 1983. Now it is a hotel, shopping mall and casino.
Just a few steps away along the pietonnier (the recently created pedestrian zone in the centre of the city) is the old Bourse/Beurs.
more very soon