We decided to go to Bruges on Wednesday looking at the weather for the rest of the week. It was supposed to be sunny and 28, but rain later in the week. After a successful trip on the train the day before we set off again for Gare du Nord to get another train, this time in the opposite direction to Bruges. We sprung for 1st class tickets again, noting the insane number of campers and travellers the day before. Turns out the previous day was a public holiday, while there were still a lot of people on the train the tickets were about 3 times the price!
During my last trip to Paris I was still recovering from something I had eaten about a week before in Hungary, and it was at the end of a long trip. Our hotel was a little “boutique” thing we found on wotif, it was quite nice, but it wasn’t in the best area, within a couple of minutes of Gare du something. I think it was Nord, mum thinks it was Est. Either way, it wasn’t an area we wanted to be out in at night. Still, last trip I did enjoy quite a lot about Paris. I loved the museums, including The Louvre and Musée d’Orsay. I really enjoyed walking down the Seine past the book sellers, and Versailles – seeing that place it is no wonder there was a revolution.
Day 1. Dad headed off to his conference from Gare de Bruxelles-Nord, mum and I headed out of the hotel to look for a tram into the city. There was a tram stop not far from the hotel, and there were a few locals patiently waiting. We asked the hotel where we could buy tram tickets, but we were told we just bought it from the driver when we got on.
I think I might have discovered one of the best ways to get to Europe from Australia. A direct Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to Brussels. The aircraft was an older 777-300, but the seat layout felt considerably more spacious than a modern Qantas A380. I had a seat right near the back so I got to board fairly early. At Bangkok airport they were actually checking boarding passes to ensure everyone did board in the right order! I put my bags up in the locker and sat down. There were about 15 people in the rear compartment.
When traveling I have a bad habit of arriving in, or leaving from, a country within days of a major sporting event. One year I think I missed two Grand Prix races in a month. When we were in Singapore last the grandstands for the Grand Prix were still up, and dad managed to stand in some wet concrete where they were repairing the road.