Brussels is only an hour and a half away from Paris by high-speed train, so we decided to hop on the Thalys and spend a couple of days eating and drinking our way through the city.
I absolutely love train travel in Europe. It's so easy and fast, and for the most part you're guaranteed a comfortable ride. When I was in Paris with my sister several years ago, we hopped the train to London and somehow found ourselves upgraded to first class -- which meant lots of room and delicious food and drink. On this short train ride, Brandon and I were in a fairly new Thalys train car with comfy seats. But we were seated two rows behind an American family with three small children. And by the sounds of it, one of them -- her name was Juliette -- was the devil.
For 90 minutes straight, all we could hear was, "Juliette! No!" Or "Stop, Juliette!" Or "Quit, Juliette!" Or "Juliette, you're bothering me!"
I could see from the reflection in the window and the train ceiling that the mother was too busy tapping the keys on her Blackberry to pay attention to the children. The dad was trying to be "cool" and tried to play a game of "I Spy" with Juliette. But that failed. It was Juliette's mission to annoy the hell out of her brother and sister -- and the surrounding passengers.
"Juliette, that's MY coloring book." "Juliette, stop it!" And on and on it went.
We were so happy to arrive in Brussels. As we were hopping off the train, we heard the little boy say, "I couldn't finish my Coke because of Juliette."
The funny thing is that we never heard a peep out of Juliette the entire ride to Brussels. I don't know what she was doing, but she was very sneaky about it. And now that I think about it, Juliette was the quietest of the bunch, and her siblings were the loud, bratty ones. Maybe Juliette was the good kid after all...