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Galloping across Europe. Part 1

Where: Moscow - Cologne - Brussels - Brugge - Paris - Dramond - Nice - Moscow
When: 09/21/2010 - 10/02/2010
Additional photographic materials here:
Cologne - Brussels - Brugge - Paris - Dramond - Nice

Autumn has come, the flowers have dried ... Inevitably, September was approaching. In anticipation of the oncoming cold weather, I really want to extend the summer, and we habitually set out on vacation - at least a week of sun and heat at the end of September-October, and if we succeed in 10 days, then it is absolutely wonderful. The beautiful multi-colored reefs of Egypt with the specifics of the wild Marasa-Alama, repeatedly praised, but Cyprus has never been seen, and even the Emirates, Montenegro, or even the velvet season in the former Soviet republics - colorful Baku, Yerevan or Tashkent loomed on the horizon , beloved Abkhazia. All these countries have been waiting and dreaming to host us. But! But we were not free. In the passports, the Schengen cartoon survived for the last two months - fully realized for the sake of Iceland, he nevertheless burned his passport, and now it was decided to look for the sun in Europe. Cote d'Azur (really, it turned out to be Azure), we are going! Considering that 2010 is the year of Russia in France, this turned out to be conceptual as well.

The purpose of the trip - to realize the Schengen visa as much as possible - in combination with the need to extend the summer defined the general idea of ​​the trip. In Europe, we moved rushes.

Cologne (09/21/2010)

From Moscow we flew to Cologne with the airline Germanwings. I have long noticed that the way to Europe is the cheapest through the Germans. Strange, but even to Prague is cheaper to travel through Munich, although it is much further from Moscow.

Cologne was chosen for two reasons. The first. He was, perhaps, the most western (and after all we gathered in France, which is to the west) from the cities of Germany, where cheap tickets were offered. The second. My husband had long dreamed of Cologne Cathedral.

The plane landed at Cologne Airport at 13:45.

The World Mind told us that from the airport to Cologne Central Station (the cathedral itself is also there - very convenient) we will get the S-bahn train: S 13 in the direction of Köln Hansaring. Travel time 11 min. Destination Köln Hbf. It was so. Only instead of 6.30 euro, promised by the Internet, an automatic machine requested 2.40. We rushed around, the departure time of the next S 13 was rapidly approaching, we didn’t want to linger for an extra 20 minutes because of the showdown with tickets, so we took what we were giving and rushed to the platform.

Cologne Cathedral - we saw it even from the windows of the plane - was approaching. The weather was sunny, the building soared steadily over the surroundings, it seemed light and airy, despite all the monumentality and majesty. Before joining the cathedral, we handed over a travel bag to the storage room at the station and sat down at the station square to have a beer and evaluate the whole picture. The cathedral turned out to be smaller than we imagined. But the whole is covered with incredible carved stone lace. We walked around, the square of the Cologne Cathedral is interesting in itself. This is an official tourist destination. Tourists crowd. They sit on all the steps. They lie on the plates of the square, merge with the Universe (like beer). Occupy tables next to the Cathedral of the cafe. They wander around the Cathedral into one and then the other. They are entertained by music in the square: a white piano in the bushes is replaced by a trio of balalaika, violins and harmonicas (compatriots, understandably), then a saxophonist appears instead, then a guitar ... Huge soap bubbles from the bucket, incredible pictures on the asphalt, live sculptures, etc. , etc.

We walked around the Cathedral (admission is free, the rooms are beautiful, dimly lit, candles are burning, but I, as an unbeliever, feel myself in such places, actually, superfluous - the Cathedral is acting, there are some services there, some people, tourists there is not quite the place, it seems to me). We climbed the endless spiral staircase to the tower (2.50 euros from the nose, wonderful views of the city and the river from above, at the beginning of the ladder you can buy a souvenir Cologne balm for any size and wallet), walked around the building, looking at the figurines covering its walls, watched the life of the cathedral square.

Approaching 19:43 - the time of our departure to Brussels. After eating shawarma at the nearest Turkish shop, we moved to look for our train.

Bug work

  1. I suspect that the tickets for the S13 (Airport - Cologne) taken in the machine had to be punched in the same place, near the machine. There were no composters on the platform, in the train itself (as the young lady promised us, who flew to Cologne with us from Moscow), they also did not appear. We rode in the end, it seems, hares. Well, maybe these tickets didn’t need composting - I won’t say for sure.
  2. It was not worth eating Turkish chicken shawarma in Germany - the capital of pork legs and delicious sausages! So what, that in the district did not smell anything edible, because the station was nearby. And the station (the Germans always have it as we could forget) is the center of everything: they will feed there, how to drink to give. As a result, while waiting for our train, we licked ourselves at the station, walked past delicious huge pieces of baked pork, various sausages, various seafood, etc., at very affordable prices - to eat in Germany is always tasty, inexpensive and easy.

Brussels (09/21/2010 - 09/23/2010)

To Brussels

Tickets from Cologne to Brussels cost 14 euros each and were bought back in August through the site of German railways. When buying, the system asked which of the three stations in Brussels (North, South or Central) I prefer and, without really understanding it, I ordered Central. Where I should be, I didn’t know yet, the hotels were not booked at that time, and the center - it’s like Africa’s center, closer to everything from him, I thought then. And I was wrong. They didn’t ask me anything else and gave me tickets.

And just looking at them, I realized that the tickets are connecting! We traveled to the North Railway Station by an ordinary train (the car number and the seat number are indicated), but after that - from the North to the Central Station we had to drive a certain train (without any places and cars) for 4 minutes. The piquancy of the situation was that the docking itself had to fit in 4 minutes too. That is, after unloading at night with things at an unfamiliar railway station (it’s not a fact that there will be signs in at least English), I had to find, run up and plunge into the train next in 4 minutes. I don’t know if the Germans themselves drive by such connections ... I don’t know if they travel this way outside their country (the docking they sold me should have happened in Brussels) ... But there are no warnings that the connecting ticket (and that it is docking in 4 minutes) was not done - nonsense, everyday life.

Deciding to rely on fate and on the Germans, who probably know what they are doing by selling such tickets (perhaps this train will stand at the next door through the door), we drove into the night, to Belgium, to Brussels, outside the train window round moon

I don’t know how in practice docking of trains and electric trains take place in Germany, but our train arrived in Brussels 40 minutes late. Needless to say, nobody already thought about the connecting train? Our train went through the North Station to the South. And the hotel was located approximately at the same distance between the Yuzhny (final train) and Central (where the train was supposed to bring us). As a result, we did not get out in the North and drove to the South, feeling for the second time free of passengers only ...

We went to the hotel on the instruments. GPS wandered a little through the night streets. Brussels struck with narrow cobblestone sidewalks (along the sidewalk on the road in two rows parked cars for the night), completely filled with bags of garbage - this we have never met! The residents expose garbage on the sidewalks in the evening, there are no bags in the morning — someone cleans them up for the night. There is no one to wander around the city in the dark; there is no need for anything, and there is no place - there is garbage everywhere.

Sun Hotel ** (140 euros for 2 nights)

Normal hotel to stay for a night or two. Good hotel location. On foot (well, bearing in mind that we are pretty easy to go to decent distances) accessibility from the Central and Southern Railway Stations and from the central square of Brussels. Very close to the hotel (at the Palace of Justice) observation deck, from which the whole city is visible in full view. Here is a free elevator, from which you can go down the hill to the lower central tier of Brussels.

We had a simple room, but everything that was needed was a table with two chairs, a coat rack, a comfortable bed, and good bedding. Television. Shower, toilet, sink - everything worked, where it was necessary to flow, where it was not necessary - nothing leaked. Refrigerator, however, was not. Safe too.

The hotel is located on some dusty backyards of the city, albeit in a strategically convenient place.

When booking, I traditionally asked for "a balcony and a beautiful view from the window." The balcony was not given, although, in principle, this hotel has several balconies. True, under the windows is still building - very ugly and noisy from the very early morning. At night, too, constant noise - the cars make noise, either they bring construction materials to the construction site, or they take out the garbage. The door of the room has large slots - everything is audible, and the light is on in the corridor at night.

Writing characters

The well-known pissing boy, pissing girl (at the end of the dead-end alley of Fidelity (Impasse de la Fidélité / Getrouwheidsgang), departing from Rue des Bouchers / Beenhouwersstraat) and pissing dog (crossing Rue des Chartreux / Kartuizersstraat and Rue du Vieux-Marché / Ou Graanmarkt) we looked the next morning. Least impressed by the main symbol of Brussels - actually peeing boy. It was located in the corner between the houses, it was fenced off by a lattice and was dressed in some kind of katsaveyk (national clothes did not understand whom), from under which a trickle of water was beating. Actually, apart from baggy doll clothes and a trickle of water, there is nothing to consider. However, beautiful flowerbeds were made around, flowers were planted, tourists crowded taking pictures against the background of a wrought-iron lattice. The girl we found, not without difficulty, was lonely and charming. The dog is optimistic and realistic.

A good impression was made by the central square of the Grand Place. In addition to the beautiful houses around the perimeter, she herself was covered with flowers (trade in both bouquets and potted plants was widely spread on the square). There we saw an interesting restaurant, where homemade food and home brew were promised (in various forms, containers were brewed in which it was brewed), but due to the early time, the establishment was still closed.

Having drunk coffee with buns not far from the square - tables and chairs right on the sidewalk, paper cups, super-democratic price, tasty pastries, the saleswoman speaks all languages, including Russian, very unexpectedly, using word forms correctly ( Surprise her, of course, nice!) - We moved to the station. Go to Bruges!


They say that you can go to Bruges from any station in Brussels, because suburban trains go there, not intercity trains. We left from the Central. Now I’m rummaging around in a pile of pieces of paper dropped out of their travel bag - no tickets to Brugge, I don’t find. But according to the sensations, 16 euros per person was worth the ticket. Expensive! From Cologne (from another country) we came to Brussels cheaper! True, 16 to Bruges - this is both way.

Bruges is a toy city. City layout. There are practically no locals, there are only tourists around.

It's fun, it's worth the ride. Channels twined with green walls. Curved bridges. Delicious beer - I drank fruit, and my husband - a classic. Watch tower. Cheap toilet in her patio. Souvenir shops and restaurants around. In Bruges for the first time we saw an institution offering visitors to independently fry meat on a hot stone brought by a waiter - “Mozart”, “Beethoven”, “Bach”, “Strauss”. Gkhmmmm ... Who comes up with the names of kebabs?

What was surprising - we found with great difficulty an ATM that agreed to eat a VISA card. There, in the course of some of their cards, local, unknown.

In the evening we returned to our hotel. It was getting dark. Everywhere there was a brisk trade in waffles from straight machines. All Brussels smelled sweetly in waffles. Delicious ... We went to the observation deck to the Palace of Justice to look at the night city.

Mini Europe

We went to watch Mini-Europe, having thrown things in a left-luggage office at the station. At 3:15 pm our train Thalis departed from Brussels South Station to Paris.

Before the park, we rode the subway, and that's what surprised once again. Get a ticket, in general, is simple. At the station there are automatic machines and cashiers in the windows. In order not to waste time on disassembly with a gun (Mini-Europe is waiting!), We approach the checkout and take two simple one-way tickets (1.70 euro each). And here begins our ordeal. An arrow is clearly drawn on the ticket, which means having to shove it into a composter. But we don’t find a composter! We go down to the train and wander around the platform, climb back to the ticket office, watch the audience, find a reader for travel with chips - all this is not for our ticket. Time is running out, we decide to think that the composter is in the car, and we are going. Again, hares, since there was no composter in the wagon. Well, however, it can also be at the exit - and what, as in Moscow, when passing to the trains. So we think not alone, because At the exit of the turnstile, we are mired in five of us - my husband and the Hindu family with the same ticket as ours, in our hands. But the turnstile reproachfully lets us out without any tickets - they will be useful to us for the road back to the station, here we will be allowed into the subway only through the composter, and everything will fall into place. Returning to the station, in the time remaining to the train we went to study the question, but somewhere we had to push our tickets. And found. The composter was still at the station. He was off the path to the platform, somewhere at the knee level, for some reason yellow and made a vague impression of a fire hydrant ... Why is it so difficult to be law-abiding in Brussels?

Coming out of the subway, we saw the Atomium’s grand structure and decided to wander around. The desire to go inside did not arise, but the outside is impressive. About Mini-Europe, despite the title of the chapter, I do not even know what to write. I will write about it in the "Work on the bugs."

Returning to the station, we went through the neighborhood, found nothing interesting except to drink coffee at the nearest intersection, and were drawn into the building. Brussels South Station is big. We expected to eat there (they remembered the German station) before leaving.

Bug work

  1. There are three stations in Brussels (Nord - North, Central and South - ZUID, aka Midi), but long-distance trains do not stop at Central. This is an underground station, only trains go there (like the subway). Buying tickets from another city to the Central Station of Brussels is not worth it.
  2. Park Mini-Europe (13.10 euro ticket) was somehow not impressed. I expected more from him. Although ... I think now, but what did I expect from him? I don’t know ... Yes, there are diminished copies of famous buildings in Europe (not those, by the way, buildings that I personally would consider business cards - for example, Barcelona is not represented by the Gaudi’s Holy Family Cathedral, but by the docks in which the fireboat puts out the fire) , but the strongest impression from a walk in the park was left not by the exposition, but by the sight of a silver plane flying across the blue sky (the airfield is not far from there) due to the openwork arches of the Atomium ... The sight is beautiful. But…
  3. But to climb the Watchtower in Bruges is expensive and not very interesting. The ticket is 8 euros (compare with Cologne Cathedral - 2.50), there is practically nothing to look at from above - there are few windows, where there is glass, there they are never unwashed, the clock (by which you crawl along the ladder) is not struck, the bells (by which you crawl through the ladder ) do not call. I was disappointed.
  4. We grilled beef ("Mozart") - it is cut into flat pieces, it is convenient for a stone grill. And the second portion was taken assorted - there was pork, veal and turkey. It was tasty and varied, but for some reason this meat was cut into cubes, and cubes are roasted worse. Well, what can you do? Take a knife and cut the cubes brought on the strips ?? I do not know.
  5. Expect to eat at the train station in Brussels is not worth it. This is not Germany. Waffles Chocolate. Beer. At best, fruit and squeezed juice. Well, the Chinese noodles - an amateur. There is no food there. In general, to eat in Brussels in a pleasant place (on the street, looking at something beautiful) - we have not met such an offer. Coffee and cake to drink - yes, it is possible.

Paris (09/23/2010 - 09/26/2010)

First meeting

Tickets Brussels-Paris were taken ahead of time on the Thalis website and cost 30 euros per person. More about buying a ticket, I write in the "Work on the bugs." But the Thalis train itself is wonderful - beautiful, fast (on average, we drove at a speed of 300 km per hour) and comfortable.

Paris met us kindly - we realized that later. First, we went to the subway, bought a book of tickets and went along the signs to the desired platform. And they waited. Wait. And they understood only that the way I determined in advance to get to the hotel (Denfert-Rochereau square) for some reason does not work. The required commuter train (RER) "B" does not come, something else goes instead of it, there are no intelligible messages about it anywhere. There is nothing to catch here. И мы ушли искать альтернативные пути - т.е. метро.

Метро в Париже устроено очень странно. Как только поезд втягивается в туннель с одной станции, впереди уже видны отсветы другой. Таким образом, поезд больше стоит, чем едет, народу набито битком, люди возвращаются с работы усталые, озабоченные, раздраженные происходящим. Негатив большого города ощущается больше, чем в Москве. Никаких объявлений станций - ну хотя бы по-французски! Никаких схем в вагоне. Никаких способов понять, где же ты находишься, кроме как читать названия станций на перроне через окно и иметь с собой схему метро.

Метро Парижа получило от нас оценку "минус сто пятьдесят". Впрочем, потом мы выяснили, что проблемы с метро вообще и с нашей пригородной электричкой "B" в частности вызваны манифестацией против пенсионной реформы, которая имеет место быть как раз на нашей Denfert-Rochereau и как раз в момент нашего прибытия. Правда, почему об этом нельзя было хотя бы внятно написать. Что вообще эта ветка метро довольно депрессивная - другие будут получше, там и станции объявляют, и даже схему маршрута иногда рисуют. Ну и попривыкли мы к их метро, опять же. Но все-таки. Плохое в Париже метро, неудобное и неинтересное.

Когда мы все же выбрались наружу, мы попали в центр манифестантов - толпа орала, грохотала чем-то, мешала пройти. Мы углубились в переулки и отправились к своему отелю в обход по GPS.

Residence Chatillon ** (210 евро за 3 ночи)

Номер стильный, красиво оформлен. Приятный вид из окна. Хорошее месторасположения отеля - метро совсем близко. В соседнем доме супермаркет. В пешей доступности Орлибус (остановка автобуса до аэропорта Орли - оттуда мы улетали в Ниццу). Башня на Монпарнасе, со смотровой площадки которой открывается изумительный вид на Париж, недалеко. Основные достопримечательности Парижа тоже в не самой ближней, но пешей доступности - мы ходили гулять через Люксембуркский сад и набережную Сены (Лувр) аж до самого Монмартра (но это уже больше 6-ти километров).

В номере туалет с ванной и феном. Из странного - на полотенцах экономят. На двоих был один только комплект из большого и маленького полотенчика (кстати, так было и в Брюсселе).

Отель в целом понравился. На ресепшене бесплатные карты города. С персоналом все устроено очень просто и удобно - вселение заняло ровно 2 секунды (в Брюсселе мы, выйдя в соседний магазин, назад в отель дольше попадали), оплатили номер мы в удобное для себя время, выезжая рано утром, мы просто оставили ключ в номере и закрыли дверь. Замечательный микроскопический лифт - очень аутентично! Туда влезают два человека практически без сумок (наша, совсем набольшая, влезала уже с трудом). Как попадают в свои номера путешественники, обремененные багажом (да и вообще, не такие стройные, как мы), осталось загадкой.

А вот в номере мы видели таракана! Я думала, что эти звери уже давно перевелись… Но, как оказалось, не в Париже.

Вместо подушек с наволочками - закатанный в простыню, на которой спишь, валик - это очень неудобно! С открытым окном шумновато - оживленная дорога, по ней ездят и ночью. Утром где-то сильно и упорно гудит - видимо, большой пылесос.

Башня Монпарнас

Кинув вещи, мы настроили приборы GPS на башню Монпарнас и спешно покинули номер. По плану мы должны были посмотреть Париж с высоты, застав его как в дневном, так и в ночном (мы собирались дождаться, пока стемнеет, на башне) освещении. Это поможет привязаться к местности и понять, как устроен город. Не получилось! Сказалась нежданная манифестация. До башни мы, впрочем, долетели еще практически засветло, но пока любовались французскими автоматчиками, разгуливающими вокруг, искали нужный вход, а главное - ждали лифта (цена билета где-то 11 евро, не помню; лифт приезжает вниз, только когда кто-то спускается сверху), уже стемнело.

Ночной Париж очень красив. Прямо перед нами сверкала огнями Эйфелева башня, где-то возле нее угадывалась река с основными городскими символами, в разные стороны разбегались бульвары и авеню.

На крыше башни дул пронзительный ветер. На смотровой площадке часто звучала русская речь - в Брюсселе мы от нее отвыкли, а Париж соотечественниками активно посещается. На смотровой площадке 56 этажа тепло и многолюдно. Огромный город внизу жил своей вечерней жизнью. Разглядывая ее сквозь витрины, мы шли к отелю. Моросил дождь.

Достопримечательности Парижа

Первый день был посвящен "официальным" достопримечательностям Парижа. Большинство из них сосредоточены на набережной Сены, куда мы доехали на метро, выбравшись на остановке Сите.

Погода была подозрительной, яркое солнце сменяли тучи, и мы взяли дневной билет на Batobus (остановку найдете по плакату). За 13 евро билет давал возможность садиться на кораблик, курсировавший по центральной части города, на любой из восьми остановок (каждая возле какого-то известного места) сколько угодно раз в течение дня. Благодаря Батобасику, мы объехали показавшиеся нам интересными места, мы не очень устали, время от времени прерывая пешие прогулки и залезая "покататься", мы прятались на нем от дождя и наслаждались видами города.

Посещение Парижа занимало два с половиной дня, поэтому изначально было решено осматривать его "с улицы", избегая посещений музеев, кинотеатров, магазинов и прочего. Даже смотровые площадки (а я их люблю!) мы посетили только две - башня Монпарнаса и Монмартр. За такое короткое время можно лишь кинуть взгляд на город - схватить самое общее впечатление, сделать самый общий снимок и унести его с собой…

Тем не менее, уже самое первое место, куда мы попали - Нотр-Дам (вход бесплатный) - приютило нас на некоторое время, там давали концерт органной музыки, пел приехавший из Амстердама хор. На площади перед собором туристы с рук кормили багетами парижских воробьев… Часа через два мы отъезжали от Нотр-Дама на кораблике, следующим пунктом был главный символ Парижа - Эйфелева башня.

Она, правда, прекрасна! Изменчивая погода показала нам Башню такой разной - на фоне ослепительного солнца, белых облаков, грозовой тучи и затянутую пеленой дождя. Она прекрасна всякая.

От Башни наш путь лежал по мосту на другой берег Сены, по ступеням Дворца Шайо и дальше через кварталы города к Триумфальной арке, откуда, пройдясь по Елисейским полям, мы снова вышли на набережную, гуляли по мостам через Сену, возле Дома инвалидов и по Марсовому полю снова к Башне, рассматривали золоченые скульптурки на мостах и ели жареные каштаны (какие-то безумные деньги, по-моему, 5 евро порция и "сссспассиба" почти по-русски от продавца). Необходимо отметить бесплатный туалет (раковина с водой прямо в кабинке) недалеко от Площади Конкорд по пути к дворцу Гранд Палас. К вечеру, истоптав и исплавав всю центральную часть города, мы отправились домой.

Ужинали в отеле, взяв бутылочку вина, сыр, колбасу, багет и фрукты в соседнем супермаркете.

To be continued…

Watch the video: Galloping through Europe: 13 cities in 2 weeks (November 2019).