Federal Parliamentary Democracy Constitutional Monarchy
Dutch(official) 60%,French(official) 40%,German(official) less than 1%
Roman Catholic 75%, Protestant or other 25% – most people arent religious.
Belgium(Dutch:België, French:Belgique, German:Belgien) is a beautiful country on the North Sea coast in theBenelux. With the majority of West European capitals within 1,000km or 622 miles of the Belgian capital ofBrussels, and as a member of the long-standing internationalBeneluxcommunity, Belgium sits at the crossroads of Western Europe. Its immediate neighbours areFranceto the southwest,Luxembourgto the southeast,Germanyto the east and theNetherlandsto the north.
Belgium is a densely populated country trying to balance the conflicting demands of urbanization, transport and industry with commercial and intensive agriculture. It imports large quantities of raw materials and exports a large volume of manufactured goods, mostly to other EU countries.
Belgium is the heir of several former Medieval powers, previously named Belgae (or Belgica reference to the Roman Empire period), and you will see traces of these everywhere during your trip in this country.
After the collapse of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, the territory that is nowadays Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg, was part of Lotharingia, an ephemeral kingdom soon to be absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire; however, the special character of Lower Lotharingia remained intact in the feudal Empire: this is the origin of the Low Countries, a general term that encompasses present-day Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
The widely autonomous fiefdoms of the Low Countries were amongst the richest places in Medieval Europe and you will see traces of this past wealth in the rich buildings of Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, Tournai, Mons, etc. These cities progressively fell under the control of a powerful and ambitious family: the Dukes of Burgundy. The whole realm of the dukes extended from the Low Countries to the borders of Switzerland. Using wealth, strategy, and alliances, the Dukes of Burgundy aimed at reconstituting Lotharingia. The death of the last Duke, Charles the Bold, put an end to this dream. However, the treasures of the Dukes of Burgundy remains as a testimony of their rules in Belgian museums and landmarks.
The powerful Habsburg family then inherited from the Low Countries. Reformation is the reason that Belgium and Netherlands were first put apart: the northern half of the Low Countries embraced Protestantism and rebelled against the Habsburg rule, while the southern half remained faithful to both its ruler and the Catholic faith. These two halves roughly correspond to present-day Belgium and Netherlands.
Belgium was called Austrian Netherlands, then Spanish Netherlands, depending on which branch of the Habsburg ruled it. The powerful German emperor and Spanish king, Charles V, was born in the Belgian city of Ghent and ruled from Brussels. Many places in Belgium are named after him, including the city of Charleroi and even a brand of beer. Every year, the Brusselers emulate his first parade in their city in what is called the Ommegang.
Belgium was briefly a part of the Napoleonic Empire. After Napoleons defeat, a large Kingdom of the Netherlands was created, comprising the whole of the Low Countries. However, the religious opposition still remained and the split was aggravated by political differences between Belgian liberals and Dutch aristocrats. Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 after a short revolution and a war against the Netherlands.
It was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II and has many war graves near the battle zones, most of them are around Ieper (in English archaically rendered asYpres, with Yperite another name for mustard gas due to intensive use there in the first World War). It has prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced and highly developed European state and member of NATO and the EU. Socioeconomic, political and cultural tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy.
Flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, wooded hills and valleys ofArdennesForest in southeast.
Temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy. Average annual temperature between 1976-2006: 10C
Electricity is supplied at 220-230V, 50Hz. Outlets are CEE7/5 (protruding male earth pin) and accept either CEE 7/5 (Grounded), CEE 7/7 (Grounded) or CEE 7/16 (non-grounded) plugs. Older German-type CEE 7/4 plugs are not compatible as they do not accommodate the earth pin found on this type of outlet. However, most modern European appliances are fitted with the hybrid CEE 7/7 plug which fits both CEE 7/5 (Belgium & France) and CEE 7/4 (Germany, Netherlands, Spain and most of Europe) outlets.
Travelers from the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and those many other countries using 230V, 50Hz but using different plugs, simply require a plug adaptor to use their appliances in Belgium.
Travelers from the US, Canada, Japan and other countries using 110V, 60Hz may need a voltage converter. However, some laptops, mobile phone chargers and other devices can accept either 110V or 230V and so only require a simple plug adaptor. Check the voltage rating plates on your appliances before connecting them.
Belgium consists of three federal regions, listed from North to South:
The northern, Dutch-speaking region of the country. It includes well known cities likeAntwerp,GhentandBruges. The Flemish provinces are (from west to east):West Flanders,East Flanders,Antwerp,Flemish BrabantandLimburg.
The southern, French-speaking region, incorporating a smallGerman speaking regionin the east near the German border. The Walloon provinces are (from west to east):Hainaut,Walloon Brabant,Namur,LigeandLuxembourg.
Belgium has a very high rate of urbanization and has an astonishing number of cities for such a small territory
Brussels Belgiums bilingual capital and the unofficial capital of the EU. Today one of the most multicultural cities in Europe. Brussels has a nice historic centre around the famous
with its Gothic town hall and baroque guild halls. Other popular destinations are the
, one of the symbols of Belgium, the European Quarter, the Palace of Justice, the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Gudula, the Stock Exchange, the Royal Palace, The Manneken Pis and the art nouveau Houses of Victor Horta. Brussels houses some important museums, such as the Magritte Museum, the Belgian Comic Strip Center and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts.
Antwerp(Dutch: Antwerpen, French: Anvers) Belgiums second largest city, along the Scheldt river, is landmarked by the enormous Gothic cathedral of Our Lady and especially known for four things: Rubens, diamonds, fashion and the port, the second largest of Europe. Places of interest are the Grote Markt, with the renaissance city hall and stair shaped guild houses, the central station, the Plantin-Moretus museum, the MAS museum, the zoo and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts.
Beringen Once an important coal-mining city, Beringen is landmarked by Europes largest and well preserved coal-mining site. Also worth visiting is the place of pilgrimage referred to by locals as Koersels Kapelleke.
Bruges(Dutch: Brugge) One of Europes wealthiest cities in the 14th century, nicknamed the Venice of the north because of the canals and romantic atmosphere. The historic centre is mainly medieval, including the famous belfry, a
and the Groeningen museum. Quiet at night, Bruges offers lots of small guest houses and family businesses greatly outnumbering chain hotels. Damme and Lissewege are popular towns to visit in the environs.
Ghent(Dutch: Gent, French: Gand) Once one of Europes largest cities, Ghent is now a perfect mixture of Antwerp and Bruges: a cosy medieval centre with canals, a lot of churches and a great castle, yet with a lively student population, a modern art scene and some great festivals. The Gothic Saint Bavo cathedral houses the Lamb of God, one of the masterpieces of Flemish medieval painting.
Leuven(French: Louvain) A small city dominated by one of Europes oldest universities. Beautiful historic centre and a lively nightlife. Leuven is also known as the home of Stella Artois and Anheuser-Busch InBev, the worlds largest brewing company.
Lier(French: Lire) Charming Flemish city situated along the Nete river with a beautiful Beguine, a belfry, stair-shaped houses, a Gothic cathedral and small medieval streets.
Mechelen(French: Malines) An important medieval city with a nice historic district around the Saint Rumbolds cathedral, famous for its carillon school, the oldest and largest in the world.
Tongeren(French: Tongres) The oldest town in Belgium along with Tournai, Tongeren lives up to its promise.
Ieper(French: Ypres) Once one of the largest cities in the Low Countries, now best known for its destruction during the First World War, marked by memorials and cemeteries (Flanders Fields Country, see below).
Binche Walled town that is famous for its carnival.
Charleroi Although the name Charleroi Brussels-South Airport suggest otherwise, Charleroi is not a suburb of Brussels, but is actually the largest town in Wallonia (being marginally larger than Lige). Sadly, it is not the kind of town that most people would want to visit, unless theyre into heavy industry and urban decay (in which case it is paradise). Nonetheless, those who venture into the centre will be surprised to find it is friendly and relaxed (and to find that there are also some nice buildings).
Dinant A small town with a cathedral and citadel in a stunning natural setting on the Meuse river, Dinant is a popular spot for adventure sports such as canoeing and rock-climbing which best visited in winter. Dinant is known as the place where Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone.
Lige(Dutch: Luik, German: Lttich) The cultural hub of Wallonia – which sits on the banks of the wide river Meuse – is a many sided city that is definitely worth visiting if you are in Belgium. Besides some industrial scars, it is undeniable that Lige has a unique character, an eclectic mix of architecture from the middle ages to the present, a dramatic setting, exciting night-life, a number of museums, and varied natural surroundings to boot!
Mons(Dutch: Bergen) Also known as the Bruges of Wallonia, Mons historic centre is simply stunning!
Namur(Dutch: Namen) The political capital of Wallonia, Namur is a classy town of around a 100,000 inhabitants, that boasts a tidy, well preserved old centre and an impressive citadel at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers. Similarly to Lige, Namur has a a dramatic setting and impressive natural scenery in its immediate surroundings.
Spa The elegant small town in the Ardennes which put the word spa into spa-town.
Tournai(Dutch: Doornik) The oldest town in Belgium along with Tongeren, Tournai is a pleasant town on the banks of the Escaut (Scheldt) with an impressive four-towered cathedral.
Verviers(pop: 55,936) Overlooked by almost everyone, Liges little brother to the east was one of the first towns in the world outside Great Britain to be mechanically industrialised in the early 19th century, when British entrepreneur William Cockerill (and his son John) set up shop there in 1799. Verviers — which is set in the dramatic valley of the Vesdre — also contains many traces of its pre-mechanical history, which dates make to medieval times. While the town might not be everyones cup of tea, it will certainly prove fascinating to many others!
Ardennes the most sparsely populated region in Benelux, this is a hilly countryside region covered with forests, tiny nature-stone villages and castles, such as the one of Bouillon or Durbuy.
Limburg This province has a solid reputation as a cycling paradise. Its also well known for its castles, abbeys, orchards, smaller cities abound with remnants of the past and its history in coal mining.
a lot of them famous for brewing beer, such as Orval, Chimay, Postel, Floreffe or Val Dieu.
Belgium is a member of theSchengen Agreement.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty – the European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signedandimplemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks (travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country).
Please see the articleTravel in the Schengen Zonefor more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are. Citizens of the above countries are permitted to work in Belgium without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay. However, this ability to work visa-free does not necessarily extend to other Schengen countries.
Brussels Airport(also known as Zaventem due to the town in which it is mainly located) is Belgiums main airport (IATA codeBRU). It is not located in Brussels proper, but in surroundingFlanders. The airport is the base of the national airlineBrussels Airlines. Other full-service airlines use BRU, as well as budget carriers such asVueling,JetairFlyandThomas Cook.
There is a train (€8.60) running every 15 minutes to Brussels centre, taking 25 minutes, some of them continuing toGhent,MonsandWest Flanders.
STIB-bus lines number 12 and 21 (€4.50 at the vending machine/€6 on board) depart every 20 to 30 minutes for Place Luxembourg (European Parliament district). The bus stops at NATO and Schuman (for the EU institutions) on its way to the centre.
De Lijn-bus lines 272 and 471 (€3 on board) depart every 30 to 60 minutes for Brussels North Station, just North of the city centre. These buses also serve NATO.
A taxi to the centre of Brussels costs around €35 – cheaper if booked in advance. Airport Taxi: +32 484 900 740, Taxis bleus: +32 2 268 0000, Taxis Autolux: +32 2 411 4142, Taxis verts: +32 2 349 4949.
There are also two trains (€8.10) per hour toLeuven, taking 14 minutes, and two trains (€10.40) per hour toAntwerp, taking 43 minutes.
There is alsoAirport Transferlow cost company for long distance transfer From Brussels Airport to Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, Bruges
Brussels South Charleroi Airport(IATA codeCRL), about 50km south of Brussels, mostly serves low-cost carriers, such as Ryanairand Wizzair. You can get to Brussels Gare du Midi on a coach in about an hour (€13 one way, €22 return). If youre going to any other part of Belgium, buy a combination bus+train ticket via Charleroi Sud train station from the TEC vending machines outside the airport for at most €19.40 one-way.
However, if you are really stuck, it is not unusual for taxi drivers to take credit cards. The price of a taxi ride to Brussels is a set fare (approximately €95 as of May 2006) and you can check with the taxi driver if he will accept your credit card(s) or not.
Antwerp Airport(IATA codeANR) has some business flights, including CityJets reasonably priced link to London City airport.
Ostend Airport&Lige Airporthave a limited selection of flights byJetAirFly(varying every season), but mostly receive business, charter & cargo flights.
Flights to airports in neighbouring countries might be worth considering, especially to AmsterdamSchiphol Airportwhich has a direct rail link toBrussels, also making stops atAntwerpandMechelen. Some low-budget airlines (Ryanair, Easyjet) offer a limited selection of flights toEindhoven,Maastricht,Köln&Lille, all of which have a selection of public transit options to Belgian cities.
There are direct trains between Brussels and:
Luxembourg(normal trains, running every hour)
Rotterdam,The Hague(normal trains, running every two hours)
Lyon, Paris-CDG airport and many other French cities (TGV Bruxelles-France).
London,Ebbsfleet,Ashford,LilleandCalais(Eurostar). Tip: If going to another Belgian city opt for the any Belgium Station ticket (5.50 one-way in 2nd class), and your local transport is included in your Eurostar ticket. Depending on the distance this may work out cheaper than getting a separate ticket. Note: Passengers travelling from the UK to Belgium go through French passport/identity card checks (done on behalf of the Belgians) in the UK before boarding, rather than on arrival in Belgium. Passengers travelling from Lille/Calais to Brussels are within the Schengen Area.
They connect with domestic trains at Brussels Gare du Midi/Zuidstation, and with all Eurostar or ICE and some Thalys tickets, you can finish your journey for free on domestic trains. For all high-speed trains, you need to book in advance for cheap fares, either online or using a travel agency. There are no regularly scheduled sleeper trains anymore.
You might want to check the TGV connections to Lille too. The trains from the rest of France to Lille are more frequent and usually cheaper. There is a direct train connection from Lille Flandres to Ghent and Antwerp. If your TGV arrives in Lille Europe, it will take a 15 min walk to the Lille Flandres railway station.
Plan your trip with the Deutsche Bahn timetable. It has all domestic and international connections across Europe.
Smoking is no longer allowed in Belgian trains.
Major European highways like the E-19, E-17, E-40, E-411 E-314 and E-313 pass through Belgium.
The cheapest way to get to Belgium (3€/100km) from anywhere in Europe if you are a little flexible and lucky is usually taxistop
You can get to Belgium from all over Europe on Eurolinescoaches. International busses have stopovers inAntwerpen,Brussels north-station,Leuven&Liege.
Now there are also other bus service operators like Flixbus and Ouibus.
Due to the Bosnian war in the 1990ies there are bus companies serving the Bosnian diaspora, which provide a cheap andcleanway of getting to the other side of the European continent.Semi toursruns three times per week from various destinations inBosnia and Hercegovinato Belgium and the Netherlands, Off-season approx. (132€) for a return ticket.
There is an overnight ferry to/from Zeebrugge from Hull in England, but it is not cheap.
There are domestic Belgian trains that terminate in
terminus of the Belgian railways (and the Coast tram
, there is a bus line run by DKBUS Marine:. It may, however, be operating only in certain time of the year. It is also possible to take a DKBUS bus which goes to the closest possible distance of the border and then cross it on foot by walking on the beach and arriving at a convenient station of the Coast tram, such as
You can take a bus between the train stations of
(Germany) which is quite fast and less expensive than doing the same trip on an international train ticket.
For a list of border-crossing buses between Belgium and the Netherlands, you may consult the list at.
In order to avoid paying for an international train ticket on the route between Amsterdam and Antwerp, you can get off in one of the border stations of
(the Netherlands) and walk to the other on foot. You can follow the main road between the two places and will need to walk some 10 kilometers in a flat and open, though particularly uninhabited terrain.
Apart from being a peculiar result of ancient European history, the town of
in the Netherlands) is a possible change point, since the towns main bus stop
is operated by both Flemish (Belgian) and Dutch buses.
The Flemish (Belgian) company De Lijn operates a border-crossing bus between
in the Netherlands, both of which are termini in the respective countrys railway network.
Theres a bus (line 45) operated by the Flemish (Belgian) company De Lijn going between the train stations of
(the Netherlands). There is another bus (line 20A) departing from
. A train connection is non-existing in this place, but it is being built at the moment.
Being such a small country (300 km as its maximum distance), you can get anywhere in a couple of hours. Public transport is fast and comfortable, and not too expensive. Between larger cities, there are frequent train connections, with buses covering smaller distances. A useful site is InfoTEC, which has a door-to-door routeplanner for the whole country, covering all forms of public transport (including train, bus, subway and tram).
A look on the map may suggest that Brussels is a good starting point to explore Antwerp, Ghent, Brugge, Namur and Leuven on day trips. Antwerp is popular among those who want to be in a cosmopolitan place, and Ghent is tops with those who like a good mix of open-minded provincialism. Antwerp, Brussels and Bruges are located at 20-40 min train ride from Ghent, with several trains each hour until late. Lige is beautiful, but too close to Germany to be a good base for day trips. Mechelen is considered boring by tourists, but has a very good brand new youth hostel next to a train station with trains to everywhere else every 30 mins.
To do some local sightseeing, especially in Flanders, a lot of infrastructure is available for cycling. Bikes can be rented virtually everywhere. In the country side of Wallonia, mountainbikes are available, and rafting is popular along the border with Luxembourg.
Most of Belgium is well connected by train, run by NMBS/SNCBwith most of the main routes passing through Brussels and Antwerp. This is where youll arrive on international trains, and both can be reached by train from Brussels airport or by coach from Antwerp or Charleroi airport. Transfers are very easy. Note that all ICE and some Thalys tickets allowfree same-day transfersby domestic trains to any other Belgian station. From London (by Eurostar) you need to switch in Brussels for Antwerp, Leuven, Lige, Namur, Mons or Ghent, but for Brugge and Ghent, you can also change at Lille (France) with no need to make the detour via Brussels. Both in Lille and Brussels the train-station staff are very helpful and willing to smile.
Destinations are listed at stations in the language of the locality. For example, if travelling from somewhere in Flanders to Lige, this will be listed as Luik, the Flemish for Lige. If travelling from a French-speaking area to Antwerp, it will be listed as Anvers, from a Flemish-speaking area Antwerpen. The exception is Brussels, where destinations are listed in both languages. Only a limited number of international trains and trains to Brussels National Airport are announced in English in the major stations.
Announcements on board trains reflect the official language of the region that the train passes through. In Flanders, all announcements will be in Dutch; similarly in Wallonia, all announcements will be in French. In Brussels, announcements will be in French and Dutch. On personal request, train staff will help you in French or Dutch, and often also in English, regardless of the region.
Brussels has 5 major stations, and three of them have two names in French / Dutch: Bruxelles-Midi = Brussel-Zuid, Bruxelles-Central = Brussel-Centraal and Bruxelles-Nord = Brussel-Noord. Many trains stop at all 3, but some trains (Eurostar, Thalys) only stop at Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel-Zuid. Lines to the south (Namur and Luxembourg) also serve the major stations of Brussel/Bruxelles Schuman and Brussel/Bruxelles Luxemb(o)urg, both located in the European quarter of the city.
When travelling during rush hour, delays between larger cities are to be expected (5-15 minutes). Nevertheless, delays of more than 30 minutes are extremely rare. Rush hour trains between major cities and around major cities tend to be very crowded, although standing places are normally available.
Normal fares on Belgian trains are cheap compared to Germany or the UK, with no need nor a possibility to pre-book or reserve. Seating places can not be reserved on national trains. 2nd class fares dont go much higher than €20 for the longest domestic trips, and 1st class costs 50% extra. Trains can get very full during the rush hours, so you might need a 1st class ticket to get a seat at those times, although they also dont garantee seating places.
Its very rare to get train tickets in travel agencies but you can easily buy normal tickets online, on the SNCB application, third parties application (trainline, loco2,…) or in stations. Almost all stations have ticket dispensers (only cards and sometimes coins accepted) and the bigger ones also have staffed offices (cards and cash accepted). If you want to buy a ticket on the train, you have to warn the train conductor and a supplement (€ 7) will be charged, unless there are officially no ticket offices or ticket dispensers. But this is getting rare so be prepared for a supplement. Not buying a ticket can cost you up to €200. There are many options to buy a ticket so why taking the risk to be charged or to be fined.
Normal tickets are sold for a designated day, so there is no extra validation when you step on a train.
There are several possibilities to keep the ticket price low. First of all, for people younger than 26, one can buy aGo-Pass 1for one trip at a fixed price of €6.60, no matter the distance. The cheapest option if youre planning several train trips and are under 26 years old, is a Go Pass10, which gives you 10 single 2nd class trips anywhere in Belgium (including train changes if necessary) for €53. Its valid for a year and can be shared with (one line per person) or given to other people without any restrictions. A similar ticket for people of 26 or older is called theRail Pass, also allowing 10 trips within a year. This costs €83 for 2nd class or €128for 1st. Also other discount passes for frequent travelers are available. When using these passes make sure you have filled in the linebeforeyou get on the train (strictly speaking: before you enter the platform). The train conductor can be very picky when the pass is not correctly filled in. However, if you address train station staff before boarding, they will be glad to help you. SNCB/NMBS participate in the RailPlus scheme: if you have a RailPlus card (DB BahnCard, CD InKarta, SBB HalbTax,… ), youre entitled to 15% discount for full price cross-border fare. Interrail is valid in any SNCB/NMBS train without any surcharge.
Another cheap alternative are theweekend tickets. Valid from 7pm on Friday evening until the last train on Sunday night (can overlap till Monday 2am), this ticket is only available as a roundtrip but about 45-50% cheaper than a regular roundtrip ticket.
For example, different options to get a rountrip ticket to Bruges from Brussels (any station within Brussels zone):
Regular rountrip (+26yrs) (Mo-Fr): € 28,20 pp
These mentioned are the most important ones for travelers, more options are available on the NMBS/SNCB websitein English, Dutch, French and German. The terms and conditions are however only available in Dutch or French. The website also offers a searchable timetable, with real time delay information, and a fare calculator. You can also find a map of Belgian railways and stations.
As in other European countries, timetables usually change on the second Sunday in December. Those changes are usually limited to introducing a few new train stations and adding a few regular lines. Next major changes are planned for december 2020, with the new timetable usually being available a few months before.
Buses cover the whole country, along with trams and metro in the big cities. Most routes cover short distances, but it is possible to go from city to city by bus. However, this is much slower and only slightly cheaper than taking a train.
There is also theKusttram(Coast Tramway), which runs for 68 km along almost the whole Flemish seaside from Adinkerke, near the French border, to Knokke-Heist, near the Dutch border. As such, it is the most convenient way to travel fromOostendetoZeebrugge. A full end-to-end trip takes approximately 2½ hours. Trams run every 10 minutes during the summer and every 20 minutes during the winter.
Within cities, a normal ticket for one zone never costs more than €3.00, and there are various travelcards available. Note that local transport is provided by different companies:STIB/MIVBin Brussels,De Lijnin Flanders andTECin Wallonia, and, outside Brussels, they dont accept each others tickets. Tickets are cheaper when bought at ticket machines.
Most tourists wont need the bus companies, as it is much more user-friendly to take trains between cities and go on foot inside them. Only Brussels and Antwerp have a subway, but, even there, you can make your way around on foot. The historic centre of Brussels is only about 300 by 400 m long. Antwerp is much bigger, but a ride on a horse-pulled coach gi