Hold Tight! - Favourite places
Chapter 5
Page 33
Hold Tight!
Chapter 5
28 A new start
29 Bus station
30 The NBC
31 Renumbering
32 Europe à la carte
33 Favourite places
34 Touring
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
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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.
Lille: 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 teenage audience.
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 Milhüs.
Luzern: 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 river.
I also made many shorter journeys to Cherbourg, Le Havre, Rouen and Paris.
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