|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 2/20/2020
|Topics/Keywords: #Travel #Europe #Brussels #Amsterdam #Paris||Page Views: 1760|
|Paul and Michael's return from Europe, 1999|
All Good Things…
December 14, 1999
Michael had always wanted to see Luxembourg and Brussels and we did have the time for that; so we made brief stops in each place. We had long enough at the train station in Luxembourg, waiting for our connection, to step out of the station and look down the street. Michael had hopes of seeing a palace, but we were told that the royal family now lives in an apartment outside of town.
We spent the night of the 13th in Brussels, and in the morning Michael went looking for lace (the local specialty item) while I did a long-needed laundry; I didn't have a single piece of clean clothes, not even socks. Afterwards, on our return to the train station, we managed to see Brussels' claim to tourist infamy: Mannequin Pis, the statue of the little boy who merrily whizzes away while its owners dress him in a different outfit every month. The street around the statue is lined with T-shirt and souvenir shops, all featuring Mannequin Pis merchandise.
Don't get the idea I am putting down Brussels, however. It was a beautiful city; the hotel we stayed in was nice, the restaurant in which we had dinner was fantastic. Even the laundromat was nice, featuring a mechanized sheet ironer that I'm certain would be deemed too dangerous to ever see use by civilians in the USA.
And the train station, itself, which was also part subway and part mall, was absolutely beautiful.
Since we were so close, and had enjoyed it so much, we made a last visit to Amsterdam, spending the night soaking and relaxing at Thermos Night. In the morning we started our last adventure: boarding the high-speed train to Paris.
December 15, 1999
This train is designed to ride "regular" tracks at regular speeds, which allows it to use the standard approaches into normal train stations. But, once out of town, it switches onto special, high-speed tracks and whizzes along at an incredible 300 miles per hour! —Doing so with no more bumps and jolts than an American train experiences at 60 mph.
In Paris, we checked into a little hotel recommended by the guide book. Michael's train left the next morning, but we did get in a little sightseeing. (This was actually when we visited the Eiffel Tower, described for convenience' sake in the Paris page.)
December 16, 1999
In the morning I took Michael out to the airport, then returned. Did I start partying like crazy, here alone in this self-proclaimed City of Love? No…I gratefully took the day off, relaxing in my room, finishing a book I'd brought to read on the trip and eating in the neighborhood restaurants.
December 17, 1999
The next morning, it was my turn: Out to the airport, onto the plane, stop in London Heathrow, return overnight flight to Boston (on which I saw Inspector Gadget for the third time), then transfer to another plane for the final trip to Phoenix.
We had visited, photographed, and experienced nine countries in fifteen days (with me adding one more, England, to the collection because of my plane connections).
December 18, 1999
It was with great relief that we settled into our own home, got some sleep…and then prepared for Christmas, only a couple days away!
But, that's another story!