Welcome to the first instalment of my travel diaries series! I’m hoping to be putting up a post a week for the next few months or so which focus on my various travels this year.
I actually visited Brussels way back in February, to celebrate my friend’s birthday. Although I’ve been to Belgium before, I’ve never actually been to Brussels.
For the past few years I’ve been keeping a list of places in Europe that I’d like to visit, and this trip checked another one off my list.
We were there for four nights and five days, so I thought I’d share some photographs and roughly what I got up to whilst away!
There’s actually a lot to do in Brussels, but we ended up going around a lot of museums and just generally looking at pretty buildings. The Grand Place is beautiful, and it has a lot of gilded gold touches to the outer of the building, which I assume was probably real gold at some point. One thing of particular note that I liked was the architecture – it was probably my favourite thing about the city, as there’s a lot of very different, but all beautifully designed buildings in the city. As it’s half French and half German (forgive me if i’m not quite correct in saying that), there’s a definite mix between areas, which you can really see in the building design.
The Mannekin Pis, which is the first photo at the very top of this post, is absolutely everywhere. Even in places like the Grand Place there’s big chunks of museums dedicated to the peeing boy. I’m still not sure that I actually understand why he’s there, but a nice fun fact is that they like to dress him up in various costumes depending on what’s going on in the city. It’s been stolen, and fixed, and returned to the city, but he sits nice and proud behind that barrier surrounded by very touristy chip shops and bars.
In case you’re interested – there’s also a female version, which is a little more off the beaten path, who is squatting. Not quite as nice, but worth a quick pop by if you happen to be walking past.
The last picture with the red lanterns is home to a lot of very fancy shops. But there’s a bookstore, which if you ask me, is always worth the visit.
Whilst there, I took a trip to Bruges by train, which is around an hour’s journey. If you’re going as a tourist who isn’t able to speak the local language, you have nothing to worry about because it’s relatively easy to get around, and there’s also screens on the trains that tell you where you are.
I would HIGHLY recommend paying it a visit, it’s very picturesque and full of shops and restaurants. As you can see from the photos, it was raining quite a bit when we went unfortunately, but it was still worth the journey. If you’re familiar with Scotland, it has a similar vibe to St Andrews, except on a much larger scale, and with a lot more to look round.
There’s even a chip museum, which as a big lover of chips, I was absolutely thrilled about, as you can see.
We stayed at the NH Brussels Bloom hotel, which is on Rue Royale. It was about a 20 minute walk to the Grand Place, which was fine as I’m used to walking when I’m away, but if that bothers you, you might want to pick somewhere closer.
If you check back this time next week, the second instalment of my travel diaries for Brussels will be up, where I speak about some of the things I got up to while I was there.