Why Thank you Eurostar
After a fab weekend in London, Olympics of course, catching up with old friends and spending some quality time with my brother and sister-in-law, I was heading onto my next adventure, my first trip on the Eurostar.
I was excited, I imagined a luxurious train, like the Orient Express, or white table cloths in the dining car and people travelling with leather trunks and hats, think I was mixing this train up with something from Jane Austin’s era.
Back in reality, I arrived, checked in (like at an airport) but obviously the Olympic politeness had already worn off as I found people in the cue more friendly and helpful than the check-in staff, but anyway this is not a moan.
So as I was waiting, reading my book, people watching, I heard an announcement that my train was going to be delayed by 45, not ideal, I don’t mind the waiting, but I was concerned I would miss my connections in Belgium- Brussels to Antwerp and then to Neerpelt. I spoke to numerous people at the information desk but no-one could give concrete information- would the train be further delayed? Would I make my connections? The options were given to me, don’t travel today and they will re-book me onto another train but I would have to pay the extra night’s stay in London, or my case the train ticket to Sam and Emma’s or travel today and if you miss your connections stay in a hotel at Eurostar’s expense.
I took the latter option.
Sitting next to me on the train was a Belgian man and like all the lovely Belgian’s I have met, they can speak wonderful English and make you feel so welcome. He helped me by taking me to the right platform in Brussels and could understand all 3 languages that the announcements were in to be sure I was going to the right way.
While on the train from Brussels, the man and I met some more friendly people and I couldn’t help but think what a friendly place I was in. The first man go off the train before Antwerp so one of the new train companions took it upon himself to help me in Antwerp Station, which I think is the most confusing train station in Europe, it is like the Hogwarts of train stations, with what look like floating platforms and escalators that you can’t see where they go from the bottom.
Unfortunately my train had already left and it was pretty late and dark, so I decided the easiest option was to stay in a hotel. I had been advised, by the second helpful man that I shouldn’t stray too far from the station as he was worried I wouldn’t be safe, so I strolled up to the first hotel. Last minute check in 180 Euro a night! Wow! Even though Eurostar were paying I thought that would be taking the mick, but I didn’t know what else to do, the receptionist obviously saw the look on my face and suggested another one of their hotels just a few metres away, that was cheaper, 100 Euro in fact!
I checked into the Park Inn by Radisson and it was super, lovely room, beautiful bathroom, massive bed, FREE WiFi and cupboards that a light turned on when you opened the doors, I’m usually a hostel or Travelodge kind of a girl, this was the luxury I had imagined.