Humour is life’s best friend. That is one of my mottos.
Laugh a lot and live longer, relativating is the way to a healthy life.
So I hope I won’t upset anyone when I write things with a wink.
When we took the metro to the metro station Graaf van Vlaanderen/Compte de Flandres, we arrived at a rather huge station, just opposite the canal.
In the big hall we suddenly discovered some plates with the name of the metro station in French and Flemish and … underneath even the same information, written in Braille.
One at the left, one at the right side… and yes, I joked that it might be Braille for left handed and right handed, but of course it was Brialle writing in both languages.
Here Nathalie demonstrates how to use it.
At the end of the stairs you even have huge Braille on the floors!
And no… silly me I tried to read it wrong! is not to read with by using your hands!
This one is to read with your feet and it says “Watch out, take one more step and you fall down the stairs!”
Panoramic picture! If you want to enjoy the full view, click on it to enlarge!
Little note of the editor:
We found out that in every big metro station you can find these signs but... there is a but!
We were all wondering how, if we hardly can spot the signs, the blind people can?
Little acknowledgment of the editor:
Thank you Alain_smeets for that lending me the right side picture!
Brussels has got a good public transport
net. The one thing that isn't easy is how to
find your way round by bus.
Where does this or that bus goes to.
They sometimes make huge tours before
getting to the destination.
I don't trust busses and they make me sick.
I rather walk if possible or take the underground.
If you are an adventurous type of person.
Go for it... modern waiting places in Brussels
are armed with technologie to annouce
the upcomming busses.
ME , I like to make pictures
of those bored waiters.
Have a look at the website ,
only in dutch and French I'm afraid.
I find it hard sometimes to plan exactly what I want to do, when visiting somewhere new, before arriving in the place and seeing it for myself. I just can't seem to organise everything in advance like some people do, so taking an open top bus tour of a city that is new to me is something I like to do first thing, to help me build up a picture of where everything is and what I want to do next.
I found the one I took in Brussels a really good one: very professional and well organised and I really felt like I knew what I wanted to see and do and where to find everything in the city, after taking the trip. It also showed us the contrast between the historic and the modern parts of the city and some of the lovely green spaces that we might otherwise have missed. They also stopped several times at areas known to provide a good view of certain landmarks or areas of the city and the height of the upper deck of the bus enabled those taking photographs to avoid getting the heads of passers by in their pictures! The bus ticket is in fact valid for twenty four hours from the time of purchase, so you can use the bus just for the tour or get on and off to visit the city's many attractions, at some of which you may get you a discount by showing your bus ticket.
The bus ran a circular route (we caught it not far from the Grand Place) taking one and a half hours, if you stay on for the whole journey and one departs every thirty minutes during the day. We thought it good value for money at sixteen Euros per person.
The MIVB/STIB is the company in Brussels that runs the metro,trams and busses.Best is to buy a day or weekend pass.With a jump ticket you can also use the busses of DE LIJN (Flanders),TEC (Walloons)and the trains of the NMBS/SNCB.
Since I only had a rental bike for one day, and couldn't access the CycloCity system, I actually took the # 71 bus several times between my hotel and the opera house.
This is obviously not a healthy way to travel (because you just sit there), but I must admit that the buses are fast and run often enough, even late at night.
Second photo: The Royal Palace, as seen late at night from the # 71 bus.
Third photo:I also took the Metro twice, once to get from the South Station to my hotel, and once to get back again.
During the summertime you can take a historical Tram to go from Brussels to the Africa museum.
Old trams from the early 20th century are still operating on special occasions and this is a ride not to miss.
This is in cooperation with the Brussels Trammuseum which is worth a visit as well.
The drive is at Montgomery and goes through the outskirts of Brussels to Tervuren where you can visit the wonderfull Park and the Africa Museum.
There are three main area's that the tourist should visit within Brussels citylimits. The citycentre, Bruparck (Atomium) and the Jubelpark (independancepark). Connect these three intensive walks with one another by metro and one will be able to have a quite complete first impression of the European capitol.
Like any other cities of Europe it is not advisable to drive around in Brussels. The best way to explore city is either by foot or public transport. If you are driving into the city than try and find a parking place and get rid of your vehicle during your stay.
The very centre of Brussels can easily be explored on foot. However, if you want to go to the Heysel area, or you're just too tired of walking, then you're better off with the subway. You can find English information about the timetables, fares, ... on the following website:
Don't forget to enjoy the nice artworks in some Brussels' metro stations. ( see off the beaten path tip)
Visit Brussels Line
The Visit Brussels Line is the ideal way to get to know Brussels. It is a hop on-hop off system. You can hop on and off as many times as you like within 24 hrs.
Show your ticket at museums and sights there is a big chance of getting a rebate.
Price per ticket:
Adults € 13,50
Children € 9,00
65+ € 12,00
Students € 12,00
The tram is a good way to get around Brussels, outside of the bus service. The tram service serves the city centre and the suburbs.
Services 92, 93 & 94 are especially useful as they run along Rue Royale and you can hop off at all the sights along the way - The Colonne du Congress, the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinee, the Cathedral, Parc de Bruxelles, Palais Royal, Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts and the Palais de Justice just to name a few.
The main stops would be: Botanique & Parc.
Watch out when you hop out of the tram to ensure that you don't get knock down by cars and you are to validate your ticket when you get on the tram to ensure you don't get fined.
For a full network map of the Brussels Transport system, please see:
Brussels Transport Systems Map
The best way to get around the city by public transport is using the metro. You can get a ticket at the machines. Tickets are quite cheap actually. From the bigger stations, like Brussel Central, or Nord you can get to virtually every part of the city, and it will take no time at all.
Travelling with the subway through Brussels you have to look out of the window. Many stations we passed had art along the walls. In this picture it are statues, but there are also stations with paintings. (picture taken at Stuyvenbergh station)
If you travel with a small group check out the groupticket. For 6,30 EUR you can travel with up to 5 people with every line in the MIVB-net (except NATO-Brussels Airport by line 12 and line N71). This ticket is valid at workdays after 9 am and on saturday, sunday and holidays.
If you buy a ticket for a single trip it will cost 1,40 Eur per person. A dayticket is 3,70 and can also be used on busses.
Find the subway map here:
The website is in dutch and french.
The transport system in Brussels is pretty efficient, and you will find it reasonably easy to get around on the trams and buses.
Stops have a timetable on display, and show the list of stops along the route of the bus/tram.
One of the best options is to buy a day ticket (4 euro) which gives you access to all buses and trams and metro for the day. What is more, if you buy a day ticket on Saturday or Sunday, the one ticket will actually cover two people!
You cannot buy day tickets on the buses, but they are available from any metro station.
Note: once you have bought your ticket, you will need to validate it in the machines that you can find in the entry to the metro station or on the bus.
The STIB (in French) or MIVB (in Dutch) is the public transportation company in Brussels. They offer 3 different transportation options: the metro, the tram and the bus.
The metro network is really easy to figure out. It's essentially 2 lines (one going around the boulevards that are the limits of the city of Brussels itself (the Pentagone) and one crossing the city from east to west with 2 branches at each extremities.
The Line 1A starts at Belgium's biggest stadium: King Baudouin and stops at : Heysel (for the Atomium, Bruparck, King Baubouin stadium and Heysel exhibition grounds). It joins line 1B at Beekant and among useful stops: Ste-Catherine, de Brouckere (for rue Neuve, Place de Brouckere and Grand'Place), Gare Centrale (Central station), Parc (for the Royal Park), Arts/Lois for the ministeries and embassies, Schuman for the European District. It splits again from 1B at Merode. The Line 1B starts at Erasme hospital, one of Brussels's biggest universty hospital, it then joins 1A to cross the city centre and splits at Merode, Alma is the stop you want for the faculty of medicine campus of the University of Louvain-La-Neuve and the St-Luc University hospital. The end of the line is at Stockel.
Line 2 almost completely circle the city. Important stops are Rogier (for rue Neuve and hotels around Place Rogier), you can catch the tram there), Botanique (for the Botanique Garden), Arts/Loi (where Line 1a/b crosses Line 2), Porte de Namur (to access Matonge, the African neighborhood and chaussee d'Ixelles shopping), Louise (for luxury shopping on avenue Louise and hotels), Porte de Hal (for those nightflies who wants to go to the Fuse or eat at Le Bazaar or the early birds who feel like walking to Place du Jeu-de-balles for the flea market) and Gare du Midi (Midi Station), where you an catch Thalys and Eurostar trains.
To be continued...