Monday, October 21, 2013

DATELINE: Paris to Bruges, Belgium

It all started out just fine this morning in Paris.  We were up early, cleaned up the apartment, Mr. C slogged the suitcases down the two flights of stairs to the street.  I called the taxi service and 6 minutes later a big shiny black town car arrived and off we went to the Gare du Nord to catch the 10:15 for Brussels.  Found the train, got settled, got away on time.  It's a trip of 1 1/2 hours to Brussels, then an additional hour to Bruges.  Twenty minutes outside Brussels the train stopped.  Now this sort of thing happens occasionally; nothing to pay attention to.  Some train is late getting clear of the station, something doesn't work, there's a cow on the tracks, etc.  After 5 minutes there was an announcement that due to a passenger "problem" in one of the front cars we would be delayed a few minutes.  Two or three more announcements as the delay dragged on.  Finally the announcement came that cleared up the mystery.  A passenger had thrown himself off the train and the delay would be an hour while they awaited the police and emergency crews.  So there we sat while investigators of some sort walked around the outside of the train.  Eventually we got rolling again and arrived in Brussels 1 1/2 hours late.

That meant, of course, we missed our Bruges connection but fortunately trains run there about every hour.  We had 5 minutes to race downstairs, drag our bags up to another platform and hop on the waiting train.  We stowed the bags and then I noticed that we were in a 1st class car.  Yikes!  I've been booted out of a first class train car before and it's not a pleasant experience BUT it had taken much huffing and puffing and heaving of bags to get settled so I was NOT going to move.  It cost 15 E to upgrade for both of us ~ a no-brainer in my account book!  Nice ride into Bruges, across beautiful countryside with fat cows, plowed and planted fields, even what looked like a flower farm with rows and rows of bright blooms.  The station is modern and clean with many escalators and elevators (my new favorite inventions).

We got a cab and had a look at the city as we headed toward our apartment.  What a place!  It looks like a movie set.  Exquisite doesn't even come close. I'll go out and take pictures tomorrow.  But right now, we've moved in  (pictures tomorrow) and I need to put my feet up and relax before we head out for something to call dinner.  It's been a long day and I hope it will be a long and comfortable night.  Tomorrow is another day, another photo op.