Hiya! Yup, I’m back from my weekend in Brussels – I had a great time.
We set off very early – the train we were talking was a 6am train out of York. The journey down was okay – since it was still early it wasn’t busy, though once we got to King’s Cross it was a bit of a hussle getting onto the Tube since it was rush hour. Handily there was a sign that gave a suggested route to London Waterloo – we would have taken the Victoria to Euston and then the Northern to Waterloo, but actually it recommended the Victoria to Oxford Circus and then the Bakerloo, since there were no stairs or escalators to climb to change platforms. And when you’re carrying heavy cases, it sure is useful.
We arrived at Waterloo much earlier than anticipated – we actually had to wait for check-in to open at 9am. We then passed through the airport-style security checks without problems (as we wouldn’t :)) and then had an hour and a half to wait for the train to arrive – I spent most of the time drinking Tango and reading the Guardian. Because there were trains to Brussels and Paris leading at roughly the same time, there was quite a rush for the platforms, but we got on in good time. The train was about 40 minutes late on arrival – we were delayed slightly in Kent, which then meant we missed our slot for the Channel Tunnel, and then in Lille, one of the passengers had to be treated after falling ill. And then we were stuck again in Belgium. But once we got to Brussels-Midi station, it was just a case of going through Passport control, finding the taxi rank and jumping into a taxi. Because mum had to drop a report off at the European Commission (the reason for our visit) this was our first priority. Although our driver drove like a lunatic (I did have to cover my eyes on a couple of occasions), he was able to get us to where we wanted to be, and even waited for us at the EC before taking us to the hotel. That said, I think most of the drivers there were driving equally as recklessly, so it was a good thing someone else was behind the wheel.
The hotel was very posh, argubly the poshest I’ve ever stayed in. It was a five star place – all the rooms were ensuite, and the TVs had 40 channels with a PlayStation and internet access, as well as a minibar, safe and kettle. After dropping our luggage there (which was kindly brought up by one of the porters) we did a little sightseeing and window shopping in the centre, before encountering the Lop Lop Caf