Sunday, 31 January 2010

Quirky things about Belgium, #753

Travelling by train may be fraught with unnecessary complication over in this quirky little country, but there are a couple of nice things about it. (And not just boring things like there are usually seats and they still run when it's snowing.)

There is the little hook next to each window where you can hang up your coat.

Then there is also the fact that, once the doors are closed and ready for departure, one set of doors remains open a few seconds later for the "accompagnateurs" (ticket checking people), I assume for them to poke their noses out of. I've never known why really. In theory, it is strictement interdit to climb onboard through these doors, and in Brussels this is enforced tooth and nail: I once saw a train delay its departure until a man who had got on after the whistle agreed to get back off again. (Which struck me as a little pointless, but I'm guessing he arrived at the station with more time to spare the next time.)

In my little town, though, if they see you coming, they wait for you to run to the open set of doors, effectively delaying the train's departure a few seconds for the person who didn't turn off twitter quite soon enough to make it up that killer hill in good time.

And people ask me why I live here. Surely things like that make it worth it?

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