Wednesday, March 29, 2023

A France to Belgium Train Day

The French certainly liked to build impressive train stations like La Gare de Metz below. The walk from the Mercure to the station seems shorter than the reverse trip Monday. Isn’t that always the way when you know where you’re going? Still, rollaboards and cobbled sidewalks don’t mix well. We persevere.

Our train arrives on time, and we’re off to Luxembourg punctually at 9:52AM, where we will transfer trains.

It’s a TGV and the countryside whizzes by. After the first one-hour ride, we are transferring to a three-hour ride to Brussels North, where we transfer to our third train of the day, a 33-minute trip to Antwerp, due to arrive just after 3PM.

Our transfer at Luxembourg is easy, but wouldn’t you know it? Our three-hour ride to Brussels North is on an IC (inter-city) train, a step down from the TGV we rode in on from Metz.

No WiFi and apparently no food for sale. Oh well… whining does not become us. It’s a fast, quiet, smooth-riding and comfortable train. We don’t seem to have seats reserved but the first class car is virtually empty and the friendly employee who validates our tickets doesn’t say a word about our choice of seats. We survive on a few hotel cookies and airline chocolates found in Kathy’s day bag.

Our transfer at Brussels North is also painless with escalators at both platforms. The only first class car is out of reach and we board a second class car as the whistle blows. It’s uncrowded and quite comfortable for a short trip.
In fact, our rollaboards tuck neatly under the little table.

It’s interesting to hear some Flemish. Kathy has more success with Flemish announcements than Brian does with French. Antwerp Central is the third stop, and then it’s onward to the Hilton Antwerp Old Town, our home for the next three nights.

So far, so good.

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