Last time I wrote, we were getting ready to leave for Belgium.Â So we rode the train from Neuchatel to Geneva; flew from Geneva to Brussels; and took a taxi from Brussels to Liege (240 Euros by the way)… Trains, planes, and automobiles.Â We got to Liege after midnight, so not much sightseeing.Â Interesting town, I would have liked to spend a little time there.Â But alas, we worked all morning and hopped on a train after lunch for Brussels.
The train ride was interesting to say the least.Â There was something wrong with our train and it would stop for 1/2 an hour at each stop until it finally died and we had to switch trains.Â We were supposed to be in Brussels by around 4:00 PM — just enough daylight left for taking some photos.Â But we didn't get in until after 6:00.Â We went to the city center anyways and I took some pictures (see below), ate dinner (I tried some mussels in Brussels), and bought some chocolate.Â Not a bad evening.Â I could really spend some time here in Brussels, what an amazing place!Â Parts of it really remind me of New YorkÂ City, and it had a pretty safe feeling to it.
Now, I'm not trying to start an international incident here, so read the following with a sense of humor.Â Â Here are some of my key learnings from Europe, in no particular order:
- Most people speak English, but a few pretend not to.
- Those who admit toÂ speaking English are very nice and super helpful.
- Things are expensive (especially taxis).
- Europeans don't have alarm clocks.
- The switch to the bathroom light is on the outside of the bathroom.
- Toilets don't have a flush handle on the tank, they have a flush paddle-thingy.
- A king sized bed is really two doubles pushed together.
- Swiss trains are on time, Belgian trains are not.
- If you frown while in public and appear worn down, tourists will mistake you for a native and ask you for directions.
- Fondue and cigarette smoke combined smell like a fart.
- The Swiss don't care if you enter their country, just one glance at that American passport and you're in!
- Belgium has too many native languages — French, German, Flemish (and English, but they won't admit it).
- Europeans have lots of funny little cars that Americans don't.
Again, I apologize for the pictures — but no Photoshop available.