22OCT 2016 (Saturday). PARIS – BRUSSELS. (Day 20)
Still, there was no wakeup call this morning by Mercure Hotel supposed to be at 6:30AM; breakfast was serve at 7:30AM; and luggage out. And then at 8:30AM we left Mercure Hotel and went to train station; rode on the Eurostar train that brought us Brussels, Belgium.
Eurostar is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille and Paris. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated separately by Eurotunnel. Calling points in France are Calais-Fréthun and Lille-Europe, with trains to Paris terminating at Gare du Nord. Trains to Belgium terminate at Midi/Zuid station in Brussels.
For me, the best way to travel between Paris or Brussels, Eurostar trains carry more travelers between its destinations than all airlines traveling these routes combined. And that’s not surprising, considering Eurostar’s city-center terminals, record-breaking travel times, choice of frequent departures, and classes of service (Economy, Comfort, Premier) catering to all budgets and the unique needs of the modern traveler.
Eurostar started running in 1994 and carries passengers not cars. The average travel time between Paris and Brussels is 1hour and 49 minutes. The quickest route is 1hour and 22 minutes. The first train leaving Paris is at 06:01, the last at 22:25. There is an average of 31 trains a day between Paris and Brussels, leaving approximately every 34 minutes. The distance from Paris, France to Brussels Belgium by train is 320.2 kilometers Its address is 112, rue de Maubeuge 75010 Paris, France.
Because of this travel from Paris to Brussels, we paid 58 Euro (P 3,190.00) for an economy class just to ride the train that would bring us to Brussels, Belgium from Paris.
We arrived at the train station from Mercure Hotel at around 9AM; some preparations and waiting were made; then we were inside the train at around 9:45AM bound for Brussels. The train departed from the train station exactly at 10:01AM, the time stated in our tickets.
The City of Brussels (French: Ville de Bruxelles) or alternatively Bruxelles-Ville is the largest municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the de jure capital of Belgium. The City of Brussels covers most of the Region’s centre, as well as northern outskirts where it borders municipalities in Flanders. It is the administrative centre of the European Union.
The City of Brussels consists of the central historic town and certain additional areas within the greater Brussels-Capital Region, namely Haren, Laeken and Neder-Over-Heembeek to the north, and Avenue Louise/Louizalaan and the Bois de la Cambre/Ter Kamerenbos park to the south.
On 1 January 2016, the City of Brussels had a total population of 178,552. The total area is 32.61 km2 (12.59 sq mi) which gives a population density of 5,475 inhabitants per square kilometre (14,180/sq mi). As of 2007, there were approximately 50,000 registered non-Belgians in the City of Brussels. Brussels has 2 national languages: French and Dutch but 35% of the population speak English.
When we arrived in Brussels, a train assistant (local tour guide) brought us to a certain restaurant within the Kings Gallery or The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (French) or Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen (Dutch). Kings Gallery is a glazed shopping arcade in Brussels that preceded other famous 19th-century shopping arcades such as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and The Passage in St Petersburg. Like them it has twin regular façades with distant origins in Vasari’s long narrow street-like courtyard of the Uffizi, Florence, with glazed arcaded shopfronts separated by pilasters and two upper floors, all in an Italianate Cinquecento style, under an arched glass-paned roof with a delicate cast-iron framework.
The gallery consists of two major sections, each more than 100 meters in length (respectively called Galerie du Roi / Koningsgalerij, meaning King’s Gallery, and Galerie de la Reine / Koninginnegalerij, meaning Queen’s Gallery), and a smaller side gallery (Galerie des Princes / Prinsengalerij, meaning Gallery of the Princes). The main sections (King and Queen’s Gallery) are separated by a colonnade at the point where the Rue des Bouchers / Beenhouwersstraat crosses the gallery complex.
And then at 1:30PM, the local tour guide, Lois, fetched us at the restaurant and brought us to St. Michael Cathedral for our 3PM Mass. The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (French: Co-Cathédrale collégiale des Ss-Michel et Gudule, Dutch: Collegiale Sint-Michiels- en Sint-Goedele-co-kathedraal is a Roman Catholic church in Brussels, Belgium. The church was given cathedral status in 1962 and has since been the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, together with St. Rumbold’s Cathedral in Mechelen. It serves as the co-cathedral of the Archbishop of Mechlin-Brussels, the Primate of Belgium. Due to its importance and its location in the national capital, it is often used for Catholic ceremonies of national interest, such as royal marriages and state funerals. For example, in 1999 it was the setting for the wedding of Prince Philippe and Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz.
The cathedral is built of stone from the Gobertange quarry which is located approximately 45 km south-east of the site of the Cathedral. The western façade with its three portals surmounted by gables and two towers are typical of the French Gothic style, but without rose window, which was replaced by a large window in the Brabantian Gothic style. The two towers, the upper parts of which are arranged in terraces, are attributed to the Flemish architect Jan Van Ruysbroeck (1470-1485), who also designed the tower of the Town Hall of Brussels.
The south tower contains a 49-bell carillon by the Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry on which Sunday concerts are often given. The Salvator bell was cast by Peter van den Gheyn.
But there was no available English Sacramentary and Lectionary in the Cathedral. And so what we did was prayed and then we proceeded to the uptown part where we could view a part of the City of Brussels. We entered a Museum and then went back to the bus at 4:42PM (Belgium time; 10:42PM Phil. time). Then we left the place at around 4:45PM forAtomium. We reached Atomium at 5:15PM.
The Atomium is a building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo 58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (60 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It is now a museum.
Tubes of 3m (10 ft) diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose stairs, escalators and a lift (in the central, vertical tube) to allow access to the five habitable spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere includes a restaurant which has a panoramic view of Brussels. In 2013 CNN named it Europe’s most bizarre building. If we go up by walking, it’s 366 steps.
We toured around this Atomium building and went up to Level 7 to have a panoramic view of Brussels and picture taking. Then we went down and went back to where the bus was. We left this bizarre building at around 6:47PM to check in the hotel. We arrived at the 4 Points by Sheraton Hotel at around 7:30PM; checked in, had dinner; and drank 3 big glasses of Leffe. Then went to our room and slept.
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