Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Train ride through belgium

At 16:30 we stop at Leuven, and at about 5pm we will reach Liege, the province capitol. It is a sunshiny day, fluffy clouds make a pretty sky backdrop for the journey.
Incredibly fast bullet trains whizz by into the opposite direction, the air-blow-shock is quite something. I count the seconds between kilometre markings and calculate the speed to be around 200km/h.
Languages spoken around me are flemish, french, berber or arabic, and spanish. The train speeds up on this long stretch across mostly flat land. Next stop Liege. The new train station Liege Guillemins is an architect's wet dream in concrete. I change trains here and a cute local train unit rattles us through a charming countryside, along the river valley of the Vesdre, known for its soft water which was (ab-) used for cleaning wool. Its mayor town, Verviers, was a wool merchant and manufacturing centre, and an early socialist stronghold against the owners of the means of production.
Many tunnels and bridges and a full carriage make for an interesting short while. Lovely young people give each other good-bye kisses on both cheeks at Pepinster, while the old engine starts to make a huge humming noise.
Six pm. Next stop is Verviers, which used to be a dirty industry town, but now is completely rennovated. Belgium is a better place to live than ever, it is very green and prosperous. Home again, home again.
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