Geo: 51.2094, 3.22523
Today I traveled from Amsterdam to Brugge on the clean, fast and timely European train network. I had a mid-afternoon train so I spent some time just sitting in the park by the Rijksmuseum and then packing up all my stuff. My bags are getting heavier and heavier. Must be all the brochures and nativity scenes I have been collecting!
I got to Amsterdam Central Station, found out where my train was leaving from (15a, which is actually farther to walk than 15b), grabbed a sandwich and cookie and sat down to wait. I took the Thalys train, which is the high speed train with service all the way to Paris, via Antwerp and Brussels. The platform has a nice drawing of the train with which carriage is which so you know where to wait. Unfortunately, our train was flipped so I was waiting in the first class spot instead of back in the lowly second class. Luckily a nice agent walked by and notified everyone of the change so we were in the right spot when the train arrived. All you do is get in the carriage you are assigned to, leave your suitcase on the luggage rack and
find your seat. I had an aisle seat and no one sat by the window until we got to Rotterdam so I was able to look out for a bit. The seats were very comfortable and it was very quiet on the train. After a stop at the airport, we zipped along to Rotterdam and then non-stop to Antwerp. At times, the train went into a tunnel and my ears popped. Most of the time we were above ground going past fields and greenhouses that were probably full of tulips.
The train arrived in Antwerp at 2:30. The station there is pretty large with an ornate top section. According to the brochure, it was named the fourth most beautiful station in the world in 2009. I quickly found an information booth and a kind lady helped me find the right train to Brugge. She explained that I wanted a direct train as the Belgium train system is notorious for delays and you don't want to worry about missing your connecting train. It was very nice of her to point that out to me. It just so happened there was an intercity train leaving at 3:06 and I was able to
get right on. There were not that many people, which was good with having my luggage. This train was very clean and the seats were comfortable.
This train ride was about an hour and a half with a few stops along the way. Belgium, or at least this section, is still very flat and dotted with farms with cows and sheep. Not too much different from The Netherlands. We arrived in Brugge and I easily found the information desk to make sure I knew how to get to my hotel.
A quick stroll along the cobblestone pathway through Arthur Park got me to my hotel, Albert 1. The hotel seems very nice and the man at the reception desk was helpful. My room is right around the corner from the reception on the street side. The room itself is much larger than what I had in Amsterdam, but the bathroom is smaller. It reminds me of an airplane bathroom with a shower added on. In this room, the windows open in, but are right on the sidewalk with no bars so I do not think I will be opening them as I don't feel comfortable having windows open that someone could just
The reception guy said not to eat on the Square because it was more expensive and so I planned to eat closer to the hotel. However, I wandered up the street, ended up in the square and couldn't leave. I think it is the most beautiful city square I have ever seen! The architecture is magnificent and the buildings are just stunning. So I found a place to eat, The Petite Cafe, and ordered the Flemish Stew. This is pork in a sauce of some kind of beer. It was delicious! It was very windy out but I enjoyed eating outside facing the famous belfry tower. What a great way to end the day!
Tot: 2.689s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 10; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0387s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
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