2018 Belgium and France Day 5
Tuesday, August 21, 2018, Durbuy, Belgium

It’s another beautiful and sunny day in Belgium.

We take our time at the hotel great breakfast buffet where we sample a variety of local delicacies including chesses and ham. Conversation and jokes flow over cups of cappuccinos and expressos before we put our napkins down.

We check out of the hotel, load our luggage in Hoa’s van, and troll to Durbuy Topiary Park. $4 senior citizen tickets allow us to get in the park and observe the various plants it has. The park has two levels: the ground level is large with numerous paths on which people can walk and see the ornamental trees, plants, and flowers trimmed into various shapes. The upper level has a straight path lined with arches, chairs, and benches. In this late August day, it is hot in this sun-trenched park.

Entrance to park
It's a beautiful day in Durbuy
On way to Durbuy Topiary Park. L-R: Oanh, Ha, Lee, and My 
Walking through the park
Stairway to the upper level of the park
View from above
Ornamental trees and trimmed shrubs
We spend about an hour at the park following the map given to us before we get in the van and head back to Brussels around 1:00 PM. Lee and I have a train to catch to go to Paris this afternoon and the group will see us off at the train station called Gare Midi in Brussels. After parking the van at the train station, we find an outdoor pizzeria near the entrance of the station and proceed to have a lunch of pizza, salad, spaghetti, and drinks.

Then the group walks with us to the train platform where the Thalys train from Brussels will take us to Gare du Nord in Paris. We hug and kiss as we say an emotional goodbye to our dear Belgian friends and hope to see them soon.

​​The Thalys flies through the Belgian and French countryside then slows down after one hour as it approaches Gare du Nord train station. When it stops, we grab our luggage and head out of the station to catch a taxi to our Paris hotel. The scene outside the train station is absolutely maddening with cars, trucks, people pulling luggage fighting for space but eventually we settle in the back of a taxi stopping and going to our hotel.

Our hotel is a condo in a new building in the 20th District of Paris called Sejours & Affaires. The condo is nice and clean, has a good size bed and a small kitchenette but it does not have an air conditioner nor a room safe. It’s warm during the day when we’re not in our room but much cooler at night and with a floor fan, it’s not too bad. I picked this condo because it’s new, near a tram station which is conveniently connected to the Paris Metro.

Traveling all day makes us want to go to bed early and so we just go grab a quick bowl of pho on Avenue de Choisy near the Tolbiac metro station.

Enjoying the sunshine
Under one of the arches
A different view
The four couples visiting Durbuy
Having lunch near Gare Midi in Brussels with our Durbuy Group before heading to Paris

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