I've said millions of positive things about Belgium so far, but it's not always sunny in Belgium. And after all those loving notes that I've written about this amazing country it's time for the first "hate". Let's take off the pink glasses and face the reality. I am not going to talk about climate change or other fundamental questions - what I'm going to talk about are Belgian trains. If you want to travel by train in one of the richest European country, you expect modern and clean trains. Oh well, I was that naive. I just wanted to find a clean seat, without used plastic bottles underneath it and some garbage on it. When I went through a whole, very old carriage, I realized that this mission was impossible. But the hardship of traveling doesn't end with cleanliness; travel etiquette isn't really popular here either.
Every time when I step in a train and want to join other people sitting on connected seats for more than one persons, I say some kind of greeting and ask if the seat next to them is free. Nothing special, my manners are not like from Great Gatsby era. But because of the astonished looks of the other passengers, I feel like that on board of Belgian trains. I swear I've never heard anyone use this short question -a lot of the time I was really surprised when someone just appeared on the seat next to me, sometimes even really close to me: sitting on someone's handbag obviously is not uncomfortable for some passengers. But please don't be afraid to use this polite question on board of Belgian trains, becasue other people might start to behave the best way they know and when saying goodbye they will give you a lot of warm words. As my experience said.