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Monday, September 19, 2005

Train: Brussels to Amsterdam

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Today is the last time I'll come down and have breakfast here so I'd thought I'd include a shot of the area. For the final breakfast I'm offered pain au chocolate, banana yoghurt, baguette and salami and cheese.

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Here's my final look down the Rue du Marché from my bedroom windows. Next time I'll get the room on the first floor!

I decide to walk to the taxi rank since I have plenty of time and it's only 2 blocks away. Half way there a taxi pulls up, a smiling driver emerging. Uh, I've seen that smile before. He cheerily takes my bags and even offers to try to speak in English if I can't understand him. He really does have the oddest smile and keeps looking in the rear view mirror at me...and smiling. Thoughts of that human skin sofa flash through my brain but I shake it off - I shouldn't really have salami and cheese for breakfast.

Delivering me at the station, crunch time comes. How much? Since there wasn't a meter it's up to him. He smiles again..€10. A pleasant relief...Merci Beaucoup Mr Smiley Cabby and Au Revoir Brussels!

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At Brussels Centrale I find that I have to go into the underground to catch the train to Amsterdam. That's a first for this trip. So far, all the stations have been above ground. For the luggage impaired, you should know that there doesn't appear to be any escalators to take you down (or up) - it's the stairs for you.

I make a rough estimate where about on the platform the first class carriages will be (from their location on other trains). Unfortunately I'm a little off, so my planned non-chalent stroll to the train becomes a bit for frantic. Lugging my bag on board I manage to achieve a perfect face plant right on top of it as the doors slam behind me. First thought...god I hope nobody saw that...as I lurch back onto two feet.

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A little bruised I find myself a seat and continue on the journey. The train I'm on is an IC train. Comfortable seats, good legroom - they offer complimentary newspapers and a snack trolley comes through twice on this journey.

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