Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bustling Brussels

We said our good-byes to the crew of Riviera and took a taxi from the pier to the aeroporto for 35 Euros, including a tip. It's actually a fairly long ride and this driver, while fast, was sane, unlike one we encountered on our last such ride.

At the airport we bumped into a very nice young Belgian couple we'd met playing table tennis on the ship. We were able to guest them into the Star Alliance Lounge and we relaxed there before boarding our Brussels Airlines flight.

We ended up with an empty middle seat and the flight of about two hours was quite pleasant.

One thing we learned about the Brussels Airport: It's an incredibly long walk to reach the baggage carousels, including a ride down a couple of escalators, walking and moving sidewalks under a runway (as far as we could tell), and then escalators back up to the other terminal where all of the baggage is distributed. More than once we thought we were lost.

We said Au Revoir to Win and Elisa and bought train tickets into the city, hopping aboard just before one departed. We stopped at the Central Station and grabbed a taxi to the hotel rather than trying to figure out the trams.

There are some beautiful buildings and we were surprised at how very busy some of the streets look with throngs of pedestrians - a little like India in terms of the crowds but then again quite different.

We're staying at the Brussels Four Points by Sheraton at an extremely attractive "Star Picks" rate of 55 Euros. For us that also includes breakfast and free Internet, so it made it well worth while to spend 30 Euros return for the train, 11 Euros for the taxi, and tomorrow a couple of Euros to ride a tram back to the train station.

We're now off to spend our last evening in Europe for awhile, and will probably try some Belgian beer at the source. Not a bad way to wrap up this trip.

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