On the way back home through Charleroi, Belgium
It was the 3rd of june, 2009. It was a beautiful morning in Lille, although clouds were threatening the sun and from what I saw they were about to convince it to hide. I got up really early, at least for me, at about 7 o’clock. Shower, eating, watching the beautiful landscape on the window (I should take a minute and just remind you how nice it’s that hostel’s area in Lille. Buildings here and there are surrounded by playgrounds and parks, really large parks, making this a really pleasant place to learn and live.).
Then I said I want to go to the train station (Gare Lille Flandres, in Lille there are two really huge station, Lille being a well known train node. The other one is Gare Lille Europe and it’s mainly used for foreign connections). I promised to myself that I will only speak French, even If I know that the ticket salesman knows English and he will help me if I have some doubts. But I was convinced I will manage in my rough French, and I was right. I even asked for the train schedule and he gave me a little notebook with this information. After I bought the train ticket from Lille to Charleroi (the train to Liege), which cost me almost 19 euros (pretty expensive no? for just 120 Km. I compared with the train ticket here in Romania where for roughly the same distance the ticket is only about 10 euros. But then again, the quality of the trip counts too, no?) I decided to walk a bit in the Lille’s center, to see what’s new after two years I didn’t saw it. At first it stroked me the statues with a dark angel. They are so big and if you ask me pretty scaring. But I said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and art is such a relative concept that what seems ugly for some of us is a masterpiece for others. After this I saw a rather negative thing. They allowed cars in the center, which cuts from the poetic atmosphere that surrounded that place. Money is talking, indeed.
So, walking on the streets of Lille, in the center (Have I told you I adore the place?). The phone calls. My friend told me to come to help her find a new laptop online (the old one … well, let’s just say it’s also my fault). But she said not right now because she’s at the university, a bit later. I looked at the train schedule and saw that there is one at 1 PM which is very good for me, because the trip length is about 2 hours and the plane is at 5:30 PM. So I said, ok, I have time … let’s see what’s new on Euralille? (EuraLille is one of the biggest shopping malls I saw ever, 4 levels of shops, and the Carrefour inside is just huge). I walked a bit, went to Carrefour, and bought “Le Monde” to give it as a present on the return home. It was like almost 11, and I was relaxed. I said why not to look again on the trains’ schedule. So I did, and OMG … the first time I checked I made a huge mistake: I mixed up the hours for Lille and Liege. The last usable train from Lille was at 12:12. I just turned yellow. I just made a record run to the metro, than back at the hostel. My bags were not even ready. I took in a hurry everything I could (fortunately I didn’t forget anything). I called my friend telling her that I’m in a big trouble and I’m really late. I took the bags (which suddenly became so heavy) and run towards her residence. It was like 11:30, in 40 minutes the train is scheduled to leave. The road seam like elongating and the time was passing way to quick. I arrived at her place, said sorry about the planned laptop search, and we went in a hurry to the metro station. The clock was ticking pitiless. I arrived at about 12 at the train station and looked desperately on the scheduled board. I could not see the train. This is it! I said to myself. I’m doomed. Then I saw it … TER to Liege, line 11. Oh God! Line 11 is not in this building, I have to run to it. So I did. And I run, and I run. I saw the train in station, but nobody on the train’s platform to ask if indeed this is the train. It was late already so I got up in the train. I asked the first person I meet: “Excuse moi, monsieur, c’est pour Liege?”, “Oui”. I was so relief.
I put my bags up and start to rest. I was thinking: Please God, don’t cancel this train too, like on my way to Lille. If this will happen, I’ll lose the plain and I’m doomed. Of course things didn’t worked out so smooth. At Tournai they decided, again, to cut off some carriages, including, guess what, the one I was In. This brings me to a travel tip for all of you guys: Use the first or the second carriage. Always. So we waited in Tournai like almost half an hour. I was already sweating. But, for my surprise, the waiting time was somehow planned in the trip because I arrived just in time on Charleroi. At 2PM.
I ran at the bus that takes travelers to the airport (Now there are only two per hour, as opposite to last year when they were leaving at a 10 minutes interval. But now there is a new terminal in Charleroi, a bit far from the first one.). Fortunately I manage to arrive in time, I took the bus and in 18 minutes I was at the airport (they even advertise these 18 minutes, so they were really precise). At 2:30 I was in the airport. I needed to go to the bathroom so I went. I just left my bags there, saying that what can happen? When I was in the bathroom I heard the airport’s voice announcing: “Do not leave your bags unwatched as they will be taken by security”. I ran back to them, thinking that as far as my luck, surely they will take them. After I bought a 4 euros sandwich because I was starving, I went to checking and after that to the duty-free shops.
At the embankment, my “luck” kicked in again. There was a huge line, already, and like this wasn’t enough, just before me there was a problem with one person so I have to wait. It was frustrating to see others embarking in the plane as I was waiting meaningless. My goal was to get a window seat. The view is breathtaking, and I wanted this badly. But now I was resigned. But, something happened, because I saw an empty seat next to the window, I asked the girl on the seat next to it if it’s free, she answered “yes” so I took it without thinking. As you can see from the photos, I was blessed with this seat.
I arrived at the Budapest’s airport, at about 7:30 PM. The minibus was scheduled for 9:30, so I thought I have time. I started to read something and to wait. At about 8:30 I start to ask myself: but what if the hour is the Romanian hour? That means that the minibus should be here already. I took my bags and I cross the airport, a bit worried. A woman then asked me, in Romanian if I’m a Romanian. She was coming from Bruxelles and she was waiting for the same minibus. So we began talking and time just flew and at about 9:10 the minibus arrived. We went at first to the other airport in Budapest and then straight to Oradea. Just after we cross the border, we stop to a gas station. I was frustrated because I was like 15 minutes from home and I have to wait. I was the only one from Oradea in this minibus. I arrived home at 2 AM the next morning, tired, but happy. Bon voyage!
Things about Charleroi you may be interested inBe the first who requests a site listing for this page.
1. May 29, 2009 My travel back to Lille (Lille)
2. May 31, 2009 You must visit Pas-de-Calais (Boulogne-sur-mer) ( 43)
3. Jun 2, 2009 One-day trip in Brussels (Brussels) ( 78)
4. Jun 3, 2009 On the way back home through Charleroi (Charleroi) ( 81)
Start from beginning | 1 - 4 Journal overview
Read about Charleroi in our travel-guide
Recommended Charleroi Guide
Among the best sites that are worth visiting are: churches, museums and art galleries, remarkable old houses and statues of important people for the city not to mention the incredible and beautiful architecture reminding tourists of the prosperous industrial period along the history. You can find out the particularities of the civil architecture best represented in The South Station, the Post Office, the Town Hall, the Fine Arts Palace or The Exhibition Centre. Constantin Meunier was a brilliant, innovative sculptor who created the statues of “The Miner” or ‘The Steelworker” bringing his creative support at the... Read more »
Recent reviews for Charleroi
One-day trip in Brussels - Jun 13, 2009, by danpop
Maybe the first thing I want to point out from the beginning is that Bruxelles is not a one day city to visit. In my opinion, 2 or 3 days is minimum to see what’s more important in this splendid capital. But let’s say you... Read more »
Bruges, Belgium - Feb 5, 2015, by adam
Bruges is Belgiums most well-preserved historic town. It is situated at the Flemish Region. It is well known for it's exceptional architecture like it's houses, cathedrals, the historic city center and it's surroundings, and... Read more »
More reviews you might be interested in
Ulm reviews - Germany
Wo liegt Ulm? Ulm ist eine Universitätsstadt in Baden- Wüttemberg. Ulm liegt an der Donau, ein großer Fluss und...
Sie müssen wissen über Ulm
Selva Di Cadore reviews - Italy
Situated in the north eastern part Italy, part of the Italian Alps are called the Dolomites, known as the geological jewel of this part visited by...
The Italian Alps
Oracabessa reviews - Jamaica
For anyone on this site that is interested in coming to Jamaica for vacation I would first suggest that you not spend the ridiculous amount for...
The best accomodation in Jamaica
Yala reviews - Sri Lanka
We are the Best tour operators in Sri Lanka who handling the budget tour & Holiday pakages. We are managing Sri...
Best Tour Operator in sri lanka
Luxembourg reviews - Luxembourg
Luxembourg is the wealthiest country in Europe, and the second richest in the world after Qatar. Diminutive but powerful, it has an impressive...
Krabi reviews - Thailand
Today was great, we finally went to some of the most awesome islands and beaches Thailand has to offer. We booked a boat trip with about 15 other...
The best beaches and islands of Thailand
Monastir reviews - Tunisia
The ride to Monastir was in comparison to the distance before quite easy, because we were in the vicinity of the only highway in Tunisia, so it was...
Provincetown reviews - Massachusetts
Not for the average bear! Provincetown which can be found at http://www.provincetown.com is a beautiful little town at the far end of Cape Cod in...
Attractions in Provincetown
Altenmarkt/Zauchensee reviews - Austria
Zauchensee is located in an area that is 1,350m above sea level and this height together with the position of the resort assures skiers plenty of...
Zauchensee, a great ski resort in Austria
Hintertux reviews - Austria
Hintertux is the name of a glacier situated 3476 m above sea level in the Zillertal valley of Tyrol and the little village at its foot. The great...
My favorite Austrian ski resort