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Day 2 - Friday, 28 February 1997

- 24 April 97 -12 July 97

Visit Brussels, Belgium

We landed at Brussels at 07:40, about 10 minutes ahead of the flight schedule, after being "pushed" across the Atlantic by 150+ MPH tail winds. Took only about 35-45 minutes to claim luggage and process thru customs. We were pleasently surprised that customs processing was short and sweet, a few questions and stamping our passports was about the extent of that. Exchanged a traveleres check for Belgian Francs, got a Brussels map,and we were on our way down to street level and the train station - right at the airport - to have our EuRail passes activated and head into Brussels.

I had not checked out the train station schedule prior to leaving on our trip (I thought the airport line was part of the Brussels Metro System) but we only waited about 15 minutes before we were on our way. We had 21 day rail passes, activating them this first day, we would use "almost all" of them.

Not knowing for sure where our hotel was located - The Hotel Chelton - we got off at the Brussels Nord Station and took 2 taxis from there to the hotel. We arrived and checked-in at 10:00. Made arrangements at the check-in desk to take the hotels "week end special - complimentary Welcome to Brussels Tour" in the afternoon, with a pick up by the tour operator at the hotel around 13:00. Prior to "Chilling" for a few hours before going on the tour, we walked the few blocks down to Schuman Station and got ourselves oriented to the area immediately around the hotel.

Our "welcome tour" originated at the corner of Grasmarkt and Rue de la Montagnes (which we would come to find out tomorrow - is about 50 yards from where we would spend the last night of our trip) just off The Grand Place/Grote Markt and commenced with a walk there and back to the corner in front of the Galleries Royal St. Hubert. The tour continued by bus past the Church of Ste. Catherine(very similar to Notre Dame - in Paris), the Parc De Bruxelles, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Canal Port, The Church of our Lady of Larken, the Parc des Expositions - the site of the 1958 Worlds Fair (with a photo-op stop at the Atomium).

After the stop, we continued on - back across town and in front of the Palais Royal at the end of the Parc De Bruxelles, visited a lace shop (louise VERSCHUEREN) for a brief tour and explanation of the lace making process, past Belgiums equivalent of our USMA at West Point and were dropped off near Schuman station and the EEC Quarters - the European Parliment Headquaters, a few blocks from our hotel.

The street where The Chelton is located was not on the "Brussels Citymap" (Belgium trains promo map) that we picked up at the airport train station. But, as we found out, in our "walk around" prior to going on the tour, it was only about 3 blocks from Schuman Station (Trains & Metro System).

Finished off the day with dinner at an Italian Restaurant, Napoli Da Luigi, and turned in for the night after a long 33 hour day.

----PHOTO ALBUM - DAY 2 (5 photos - 253Kb)


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