for fellow travellers

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brussels to Brugee

The best way to reach Brugee (the most visited town in Belgium) from Brussels is by train, an intercity train. There are numerous trains and tickets can be bought at the station at the time of travel, as advance purchase is not cheaper and there are no reservations on the train and children travel free!!
This leg of our journey took the most time to plan and we still were not able to purchase tickets beforehand. We would have bought the tickets at home on the net, except for the unpredictable Belgium railways website. Contrary to our expectations we saved money on the journeys where we did not book tickets from before at home. As in Belgium, so also in England ,while going to Stonehenge. The people at the ticket windows in both places were very friendly and helpful, though I cannot say the same for France. In Belgium, the trains were good and we were issued a ticket on which we could make 10 journeys from anywhere to anywhere in Belgium, just fill up the details with your pen and the let the ticket conductor punch it. When we were going by train to Amsterdam from Brussels we saved money by traveling till the last station in Belgium on the same ticket and had another ticket from that last station till Amsterdam which was little costlier than traveling in Belgium. And this was possible even when the train did not actually stop at that last station in Belgium, from where our onwards journey supposedly began.
We reached Brugee and en route we spoke to an Indian settled in Belgium. He told us to take a horse buggy to see the town. The horse buggy cost us 45 Euros and frankly I thought Brugee was a let down, considering the amount of money and time we spent to go there.

On reaching Brussels and the Grand Place my thoughts were reinforced, I found it better than Brugee. Maybe a previous visit to Switzerland had taken away from the old world charm of Brugee. Maybe the lovely waffles and chocolates we had in Brussels had something to do with it.

I had mapped the route from Brussels Zuid to our hotel and then to Manekin Pis and then to The Grand place. My friend Sunita who went to Australia for the Summer had remarked on how their group was sitting together and discussing where to go and what locations are close to their hotel and how they were measuring the distance within metres and kms. She said that we have already seen Australia on the net in such detail that she feels as if she has already been there.
I can say the same for myself. We studied the locations we have to go to in such details that we memorised the names of quite a few roads and places in distant countries. Google maps has made distances disappear and the uncertainties of travel can be reduced drastically. The level of confidence is much more after studying the satellite view of a location you are planning to travel to.
Sitting at home you can map the distance from your hotel of various locations and the easiest route to it.
In our trip to US in 2007 we used the google maps extensively to get directions to various places.
Another thing which we take care to do is to study the metro map nicely of cities where the network is good.

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