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Gent, Brugge and Brussels, in 3 days

Tel Aviv, Israel
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Gent, Brugge and Brussels, in 3 days

I (solo woman traveler) will be in Belgium in July, arriving from London on Eurostar on Tuesday afternoon, staying in Gent for 3 (or possibly 4 nights).

Here's my tentative plan:

Arrive in Brussels, check the bag at the train station and spend the evening. I just read on this forum about the sound & light show at 10.30 pm at the Grand Palace. Could I see that and then get my luggage and train to Gent? Will the left luggage be open? Are there trains that late? I will buy a Eurostar London-ABS ticket. Is there a time restriction on the continuing journey from Brussels to Gent?

I plan to stay at the Ibis St. Baafs in Gent. Which is the nearer train station? I expect to take a taxi to the hotel.

Is Wednesday a good day for my day trip to Brugge? I remember reading that Wed. is market day???

Thanks for any and all assistance and ADVICE.

Chani

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: Gent, Brugge and Brussels, in 3 days

1. There isn't a left luggage office at Bruxelles-central (only at Bruxelles-Midi), it's self-service lockers, so no closing time issue for those. However, you do of course have to leave yourself enough time to get your luggage out before catching the train to Ghent.

2. This means the only possibility is to leave from Bruxelles-central and the last direct train to Gent St. Pieters is at 23:21, arr. Ghent 00:05; the last indirect train is just a couple of minutes later so no real advantage.

3. Time-limit for continuing your journey under "ABS" conditions is 24 hrs from time of arrival so no problem, you could even stay overnight in Brussels.

4. You don't get a choice of stations in Ghent - the one served by trains from Brussels (and to Brugge) is Gent St. Pieters.

In addition to ABS trip from Brussels to Ghent, your Eurostar ticket covers you for ONE free trip to a different Brussels station (Central or Nord) than Midi, where Eurostar terminates. So when you arrive at Bruxelles-Midi, you should take next available train to Gare centrale (e.g. one going to the airport) and leave your bag there. From here is is only a few minutes' walk to the GP. I'm not sure you can hang around until the end of the sound and light show at 23:00 to return to the station. At least check which platform the Ghent train is leaving from before leaving Gare central when you arrive, so that you know where you are going as soon as you've collected your bag. Also, bear in mind that you will need euro coins for the locker - you may want to stop and buy a magazine or coffee at Midi when you get off the Eurostar, before continuing to Gare centrale. You don't have time to get back to Midi and get your luggage out of the left-luggage office there and still catch the last train to Ghent (which is the one from Bruxelles-centrale, a couple of minutes later).

Edited: 16 March 2012, 18:53
2. Re: Gent, Brugge and Brussels, in 3 days

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