Bonjour Bruxelles! 11 April 2013

After filling in some time at Gare du Nord by phoning people in Australia to use up hubby’s remaining phone credit (yes we were very aware of the irony of this…), we took the fast train to Brussels. Another lovely trip through the French countryside and then into Belgium. We immediately received farewell (we assume) messages from Orange who suddenly seemed sad to see us go and no doubt were inviting us to return to them again soon…

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We were met on the platform at Gare Centrale by our friend who lives in Brussels. I wanted to go to the toilet but was warned that I would have to pay and that this was normal for public toilets. I had forgotten this since our first trip and had somehow spent nearly a week in Paris without coming across it. Probably indicative of how many cafes we frequented…

I found the toilet which had two turnstiles for entry that only accepted cent coins not 1 Euro coins. Entry was 50 cents which I didn’t have. There was nobody around to ask for help except a young guy who didn’t speak English. Toilet language is universal though and he somehow guided me through putting my 1 Euro into a slot in the wall (nowhere near the turnstiles) which changed it to 2 x 50 cent pieces. Then I could go through the turnstiles! Yah! I gave him the thumbs up on my way out and he was quite pleased with himself as well. Although I really wished that I had used the toilet on the train which was free!!

We caught another train to our friend’s suburb which is at the end of the Stockel line. We emerged from the train station into a very pleasant little shopping mall which then opened out into a very cute little market square and a good range of shops. We then trundled our suitcases the 500m to their house. They really are situated very conveniently for the train and shopping. They rarely use their car.

Their house is spread over 4 levels – more stairs! We settled in for the night and had a big catch up.

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