Friday, January 7, 2011

Brussels Travel Tips

1) Service at anywhere sit down is friendly but leisurely. They don't feel compelled to give you your check or follow up with you. Like, ever. However, once they come around to your table, the serving staff are your bestest friends ever.

2) The Brussels Central (Bruxelles Central/Brussel Centraal) train station is like an alternate universe version of New York's Penn Station where everything is modern and clean, it's not too crowded, and there are informational signs everywhere.

The Brussels Metro system is cleaner than the New York subway, but smells just as much like pee, if not moreso, as if someone decided to go all Mannekin Pis all the way down each walkway. Also, you don't need to swipe your ticket all the time, just have it validated in case someone checks.

3) The road structure of Brussels completely thwarts the non-SAS or Green Beret in keeping a solid direction sense, especially on a cloudy day. You will find yourself heading in the exact opposite direction for several blocks, but then, since everything in Brussels is right next to everything else, you'll pretty much be where you want to be anyway.

4) 25 centiliters of beer is remarkably cheap in Brussels supermarkets. Go buy plenty; it's less than $2 a bottle, which you basically can't get for beer of any real quality in the US.

5) Coca Cola is cheaper anywhere but vending machines, which are cheaper anywhere but the airport. Coca Cola "Light" (what we call "Diet") with lemon seems to have real lemon juice in it and is worth drinking.

6) The Magritte museum is closed this January, but that's probably for the best, given that it likely has a Magritte-style approach to geometry, and is therefore a madhouse of floating items, faceless men, openings to the sky where items should be, etc.

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