Arrival in Brussels
[Brussels, Belgium, Dec 18, 2019]
I’ve been tacking on side trips to my Bulgarian visits since 2014. After much deliberation and trying out different flight options to use miles, I finally decided on Brussels. It’s the capital of Belgium, the seat of the European Union and the headquarters of NATO. It’s also famous for its waffles, chocolates and beer. Last but not least, I have a friend who lives here and I was hoping to get to see her while I’m at it.
Flying to Belgium afforded me the opportunity to fly Swiss Air for the first time. My only frame of reference for this airline is the mountain of chocolates my dad brought back in the early 1990s when he returned from a trip to South Africa. A nervous flyer, he declined all food and drink on his Swiss Air flights there and back, and the flight attendants felt so bad they gave him all the sweets they could muster. It is the only time in my life I’ve uttered the words “I’ve had enough chocolate.”
I arrived in Brussels in the evening on Dec 18. I had already bought round-trip tickets for the train from the airport to the city center online before my trip. I’d read online that the machines on site are difficult to navigate and while one can switch the language to English, the payment part is in French only. I had printed the tickets ahead of time and all I had to do was scan it at the entrance, which was accessible through a series of escalators right below the airport. The signage wasn’t clear but I followed the rest of the people with suitcases and verified the train on that platform was going to the city center.
My hotel was only a few minutes from the central train station by foot.
I checked in and enjoyed the view of the square right outside my window. I’d been traveling for almost 18 hours and although I was tempted to go explore, I read through my guidebook instead to figure out my plan of attack for the next day, then went to bed.