It starts in a gloomy Brussels underground station. But Tram 44 is one of the world’s great tram rides. Maybe not quite as thrilling as Lisbon’s famous Tram 28, but still a beautiful ride. And no tourists.
The old yellow trams that run out to Tervuren are relics of the 1950s. No way you can board with a buggy or a bike. But they give the ride a nostalgic mood.
Down Avenue de Tervuren they rattle, past the grand embassies, the rolling Parc de Woluwe and the modernist masterpiece Palais Stoclet. The stops have elegant green Art Nouveau shelters with evocative names like Jules Cesar, De Villalobar and Chien Vert.
The tram eventually leaves Brussels behind and plunges into the forest, rattling along at top speed, ringing its bell as it approaches crossings. Hikers sometimes get off at the Drève des Brûlés stop to begin a ramble through the woods.
The final stretch follows the broad boulevard created by Leopold II that ends at the old Congo Museum. Time to get off and explore the park.
Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.