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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Paris (France) - Brugge (Belgium) - Brussels - Paris (France)

We took a 8.55 am Thalys train from Paris Gare du Nord to Brussels. It was a 1 hour and 25 minutes journey to Brussels and from Brussels it was another 50 minutes by intercity train to Brugge. Since we only had 9 hours to explore both, I had planned the itinerary to the hour so that we didn't waste any time. I was happy that we made it to the earliest intercity train since we still had to find the correct platform. If not it would be another 45 minutes waiting in vain.

Gare du Nord

The heaters were installed everywhere to keep us warm.

Thalys train with its average speed of 300 km/h.

We were so lucky to have this 8-seater compartment to ourselves. It had a sliding door to separate itself from the rest so it really looked like a VIP room. This was definitely better than the first class. :P

It is a small town with lots of canals which reminded me of Amsterdam. The place is lovely and very peaceful.

The train station

A monastery for the nuns which is still in use until now. Silence is a rule!

The canals

The swans were resting.

Church of Our Lady

Formerly a house of a wealthy family, now it is an archaeological museum.

Belfry Tower from afar.

Grote Markt (Market Place)

Loved these houses. They were everywhere around the country.

Ice rink at the market place.

Besides the ice rink, there was a christmas market selling a lot of foods and handicrafts.

Bought a pitta from the christmas market.

Belgian Chocolates
There were a lot of chocolate shops, it was quite a temptation not to go in because we were in a rush.

Quirky chocolates (read the words)..


The intercity train

Brussels Central Station

Palais Royal

Enjoying a warm belgian waffle.

The waffle was so crispy, not like the one I had in Singapore which was the soft type. It was so yummy even though it was only sprinkled with sugar and nothing else. I had two that day!!

Notre Dame du Sablon

Stained glass window.

Palais de Justice

Atomium from afar. We didn't make it there.

Notre Dame de la Chapelle

Grand Place

Town Hall

Broodhuis (King's house), now it is a museum.

The Guild Houses

Manneken Pis
This little boy urinating is the famous landmark of Brussels. Read the story here. It is unbelievable. :)



View of Town Hall from the Cathedrale.

Town Hall at night.

Mary Chocolatier
There are a lot of chocolate shops all over Brussels like Godiva, Leonidas, Neuhaus and so on that look exquisite, but only this shop is the official supplier to the Belgium Royal since 1942. To satisfy my curiosity I made a trip down despite the distance from the tourist attractions. The shop had the photos of the Royal family and also George and Laura Bush visited their shop recently. There was also a printed excerpt from the book "1000 Places To See Before You Die", which mentioned that the shop was one of them. As expected, the chocolates were quite expensive. I only bought a small box for trial. :P

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