Monday, December 19, 2011

The GoPass is a wonderful thing.

The GoPass is a wonderful thing.
For €50, you (being anyone under 26) can buy a train ticket good for 10 voyages between any two Belgian cities, meaning that each aller-retour (round trip) is €10, including any transfers you may have to make.  Considering that a 1-way ticket from Liège to Bruxelles is 13.70, this ends up being a very good deal.  In theory, the concept is simple: before getting on the train, you write the day of the week, date, departure city, and destination city on the ticket, and the conductor punches one of your ten lines when he goes by.  Unfortunately it doesn't always work out perfectly.

On Saturday, I went with two AFSers to Bruges, using our GoPasses.  We enjoyed a lovely (if slightly chilly) day walking around, eating, having hot cocoa from "The place to buy the best hot chocolate," and taking a boat tour of the canals.  We even saw a Christmas parade.  Unfortunately, we got caught in a downpour around 5 or so, and decided to make a run for the station.  Our train was leaving in two minutes, so we hurried down to the track, and got on right as the doors were closing.  We wandered around looking for seats, all the way from one end to the start of the first class and back, without finding anywhere the three of us could sit down, and so we sat down in between to cars.  Right as we were pulling out our pens to fill out our tickets, the conductor came through the door to check them.  We told him that we were still writing them out and he got angry, telling us it was too late and not listening when we tried to explain.  He told us that he could sell us a 22 euro ticket, and that if we didn't pay at least 12.50 now, we would have our GoPasses taken and be fined 60 euros.  He wouldn't listen to the fact that we had been walking around the train and didn't even have seats and acted like he was doing us a big favor.

The rest of the ride to Leuven (where we were staying for the night) was a bit somber, but we were lucky enough to encounter an AFS volunteer when we arrived, who was waiting for a friend and offered to take us out for a beer while he was waiting.  We had a fun evening walking around the city and even got a free bus ride (because the driver was too lazy to count out change).

The next morning, we carefully wrote in our GoPasses before even getting to the station, where we took the train to Bruxelles.  The weather wasn't great (rain/snow), but we had fun seeing the city anyway, and the Bolivian girl I was with enjoyed seeing snow for the first time.  We saw the Grand-Place and Mannekin Pis, ate waffles, walked through the Village de Noël, and took a lot of pictures.  The sun even came out a bit toward the end of the trip, making us glad we decided to brave the weather.

Pre-boat ride in Bruges: Me, Mauro (Bolivia), and Miriam (Bolivia)

Grand Place!

Waffles with Manneken Pis

À tantôt!


  1. While in Brugge , I hope you shopped for chocolate at :

  2. PS: watch the videos on the site as well