|Brussels: I used to stay
in an old hotel, Le Béarne in Rue des
Bouchers / Beenhouwersstraat, close to the
central station and within easy walking distance
of everywhere. Good restaurants and of course
good Belgian beer. Excellent train services
to everywhere so visits to Amsterdam, Liège,
Aachen, Cologne, Luxembourg as well as the
coast at Oostende, Knokke and Blankenberge.
I once saw a parade in the Grand' Place /
Grote Markt and as it finished I walked round
the corner to see the televisions in a shop
showing the event with the credits rolling.
Every set was tuned to the BBC.
Further than Calais, no special reason, just
within easy distance for a short break and
not full of Brits on booze cruises. Cheaper
than Brussels with frequent trains for a day
trip. I once went to the ABC cinema, three
screens with a choice that shows how long
ago it was. 'Orange Mécanique', 'Raid
sur Entebbe' and the one I chose 'Les Fous
du Stade'. A home made comedy about a village
which gets the Olympic Games. Ridiculous,
funny and helped greatly by the noisy, mostly
|Mulhouse: Unknown to most
people from Britain, Mulhouse is about 25
minutes north of Basel by train. Handy base
for Alsace including Strasbourg and Colmar,
and for Basel and the north of Switzerland.
Less expensive than these. Freiburg and the
Black Forest are nearby. Home to the musée
français du chemin de fer and the musée
national de l'automobile, the (in)famous Schlumph
motor collection. Known in the nineteenth
century as 'le Manchester français'
for its cloth industry. Nothing to do with
the rain then. Once independent, Mulhouse
has the unique distinction of having voted
(under some duress) to become part of France.
Originally Mülhausen, locals call it
Expensive to stay in but worth saving for
to be within easy reach of some of the best
scenery ever. I found Olten to the north was
a conference centre, had plenty of hotels
and excellent rail connections all over the
country. It just means starting out a little
earlier if I want to take a trip from Luzern.
I once stayed in a hotel overlooking Olten
train station. Big mistake, trains all night
and announcements too. Nice walks along the
also made many shorter journeys to Cherbourg,
Le Havre, Rouen and Paris.