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First time in Europe, will be based in Brussel

First time in Europe, will be based in Brussel

Old Nov 26th, 2007, 04:06 AM
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First time in Europe, will be based in Brussel

I'll be sent to a post in Brussel in early January 2008 and will be working there for 2 months.

1. Since this will be my first trip to Europe, I would appreciate all comments on what to see and do in Brussel, or Belgium. (I love all forms of arts, museum, architectures, books, mountains, rivers and lakes.)

2. Also, would it be possible for me to take a trip to some other places during weekends? If it is, please give suggestions on what's not to miss.

3. I'll not be driving, so I would appreciate tips on using public transportation in Europe, too.


Thank you so much

nukeng is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2007, 04:33 AM
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For first starting, visit Paris and Amsterdam. Both are easily with train.

There's a lot of other places within Belgium too.

Blackduff
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 04:46 AM
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In Belgium: Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges, Leuven, all easy day trips by train from Brussels.

Further afield (easy for weekend breaks): Paris, London, Amsterdam, Cologne, all reachable by direct train from Brussels.

Within Brussels, you have the museum of fine arts, which has a good permanent collection and often has excellent exhibitions, the museum of Musical Instruments, the Natural History Museum (fabulous, newly renovated dinosaur gallery), plus many others. If you like architecture, there's the Horta museum, plus you can do various walks that pass by some of the city's finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

The Brussels public transport website is at www.stib.be and the national rail website is at http://www.b-rail.be/main/E/index.php
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 04:56 AM
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You have to go to Paris. The train trip from Brussels (Bruxelles-Midi station) to Paris (Paris-Nord station) is 1hr 20 minutes non-stop according to the train timetable. You could leave early Friday evening and return Sunday evening (I checked Fri 11 Jan and Sun 13 Jan and both have several evening trains).

I found the following Swiss train timetable (in English) handy last year when I planned my European trip. If you're from the US, you will need to use the other date format dd/mm/yy.
http://www.sbb.ch/en/

You could also easily catch a train to Germany (particularly north-western Germany) if there is a town you wish to vist. Cologne has an amazing Cathedral and a number of museums and the train station is in the heart of the city. If using the Swiss timetable use "Koeln-Hbf" for Cologne central train station. It is a 2hr 20 minute journey from Brussels and again has several evening trains in each direction on Friday 11 January and Sunday 13 January.

If you want to go further afield you could check out cheap flights on airlines such as Ryan Air. I haven't used airlines in Europe but a lot of people do. If it was feasible, Venice would be nice to visit, although not sure what it is like during January and February.

Your travels might be limited if there are heavy snowfalls or winter storms.
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 05:41 AM
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Hi
My daughter goes to Brussels every year and on those trips she always goes to Amsterdam for 2 nights, and to Paris for 2 nights..She usually rents a car and drives ... last trips were Ghent and Cologne.
But generally, she always uses the Trains.

She loves museums and taking photos of places and buildings so she is quite happy with these cities..

She also summered in Amsterdam this year, renting an apt on a canal and so did her Brussels trips as 2 nights etc.
She loves the falafel places in Brussels as well as a great Chinese restaurant in Am'dam lol...

If you want more details , I can ask her for names etc.
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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Brussels is very central and there are tons of opportunities in smaller cities in Belgium (Bruges, Ghent, Liege, Spa) as well as Netherlands, Germany, France and Luxembourg.

If you go to bahn.de it will give you train times/schedules to practically anyplace. But, many of the country places are best explored by car (rental is very cheap if you do a small car and rent/return to Brussels.)
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Brussels is not too far from Charleroi which is a base for Ryanair flights. You can get flights from there to almost any place in Europe for pretty low prices. Check out Ryanair.com
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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I'd recommend a visit to Lille.
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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Within Brussels, aside from what's been mentioned, there are large open-air antiques (some more bric-a-brac) markets in Sablon. Also there are many antiques galleries.

You can also take Eurostar to London. It's better than flying because stations are in central city and you don't have to get to airports hours ahead of departure. As in airlines, you'll need to book the tickets early to get better fares.

Fri-Sun weekend trips (what we call city breaks) are quite popular. You can almost go to most European destinations within 2-2.5hrs of flights.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 06:32 AM
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Dear all,

Thank you for your kind suggestions ;o)
nukeng is offline  
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