Category Archives: Press trips

Best thing about Brussels #3: Feeling like a traveller

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Brussels is a great city for travellers and Paris is a great city for tourists – as announced subjectively by me in a previous post). The bottom line is that Brussels, like my home town of Birmingham, takes some work to fully appreciate.

In which case, it is useful to have a local guide. I recommend Spotted by Locals: Brussels – this site pointed out some quirky or less usual places that seemed to suit our style more than the official Brussels tourism site. Here are three of the tips we followed, with the Spotted By Locals links for details and location maps.
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Tram 94, Brussels

One of the things that makes me feel more of a traveller and less of a tourist is getting to grips with local public transport. It beats resorting to costly cabs or, at the other extreme, getting tired from endless walking. So here is just a little lo-fi video of what it’s like to ride the Brussels tram, from Louise to Stade (near the Atomium). Our ride on tram line 94 took about an hour, with plenty of sights at the start before it headed into the suburbs (equally fascinating in their own way).

How to get a ticket
You can either buy a Brussels Card, which gives free transport and lots of tourism discounts for the validity of the card. Or various travel cards and single tickets are available at main stations; there are also individual ticket machines at tram stops. With all of these you have to validate your ticket when you board or enter the transport system.

Best thing about Brussels #2: The Atomium

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Surely Brussels’ Atomium is on a list somewhere of the world’s top 10 most astonishing buildings. Hand-riveted bolt by bolt in the 1950s into the shape of a 102-metre-high iron molecule, this is a building that only a photo can do it justice. So here’s a couple more…
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Gare de Lyon’s tropical garden

I wrote on The Journey’s the thing that I missed getting a shot of the underground tropical garden paradise on the Paris Metro (Line 14, platform on the Olympiades direction side). But I got it on the way back. πŸ™‚

Here it is…

Gare de Lyon platform tropical garden-1

Around the Cantal in 10 dishes

‘In France the conversation always comes round to food’ – which is no surprise when the food is of such high quality and presentation as we saw this week.

The payback is that I found the red meatiness, full flavours and multiple courses too rich for my English constitution and, at night in my bed, I frequently couldn’t sleep for the long slow digestion process. Meanwhile the winding mountain roads twisted the knife of queaziness.

But there is no doubting that French food is a gourmet treat (at the time) and so I recorded some of the meals on our ‘Cantal in winter’ trip. Continue reading

Fell in love with a dog at La Roussiere

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La Roussiere is a luxury chambres d’hΓ΄te B&B in the Siniq valley in the Cantal. It is ranked top of TripAdvisor for B&Bs/Inns in St Clement.

Christian, the owner, had just taken us on a walk to the Capat waterfall… Continue reading

BBQ duck in a hut

Grilled in a Finnish kota or wooden hut with a central barbecue. Filmed at Camping des Blats in Cantal, France (more on which below). Continue reading