Anyway back to our trip and we reached Brussels Midi without a hitch and were greeted by my new continental brother who seems to have settled into life across the channel fairly easily and now has a flat with his girlfriend right in the centre of Brussels. (when I say right in the centre I mean right in the centre, he lives less than two mins walk away from the Grand Palais) Being so close means that popping out for Belgian ‘frite and toast’ as they say, at midnight on a Monday is neither a problem nor a chore! And that is exactly what we did on our first night Belgian bound. As I mentioned the trip was mainly dominated by food, which in my mind is just as a holiday should be- sights are inconsequential really, if you have good food, good wine and good company the chances are you will have a good time!
And that we did! We did a day trip to Bruges which made GB very jealous as he has been talking about recreating the film ever since my brother moved to Belgium and was perhaps more excited about the bell tower via my descriptive texts than I was in real life! (I’ve not actually seen the film but apparently someone falls out if it and it’s pretty high!) but it is a beautiful city, everything is olden and historical with low ceilings and red brick. Walking through the main tourist track feels like going back in time as people travel down the cobbled streets in horse and carts and the owners of the traditional pubs and restaurants are outside painting the fronts of their businesses throughout the day. It reminded me a little of me and GBs trip to Ljubljana a couple of years ago where all of the buildings looked like something out of a Disney film.
Swans swam down the canals interrupted only once or twice by armies of school kids on a motorised dingys waving frantically at onlookers… But other than that it was peaceful and quiet being a Tuesday in mid March. I can imagine that it gets extremely busy come the summer months but for us it was like getting a private tour of a film set!
At lunchtime I tried Belgian cheese croquettes (my new favourite thing) and drank Kriek (a cherry beer) before more sightseeing! Back in Brussels we warmed up in a delicatessen where I had tea served in a glass and a massive brussel waffle with strawberries, hot chocolate sauce and ice cream… Bliss!
The only thing that would have made it a perfect trip would have been a little sunshine. We left blue skies behind in London on Monday to a cold chill in Belgium… It was sunny on occasion but always nippy too and out walking all day I was certainly glad I packed a wooly hat and scarf and was regretting my no warm coat decision slightly.
Despite the cold on the final day we hit the shops (a very European offering of C&A, Morgan and Miss Sixty) ate sugar crepes for breakfast and stood on the steps of all the cathedrals and church’s in brussels!
Back on the Eurostar to London and this time armed with lots of Belgian beer to make GB feel better, including cherry Kriek, honey flavoured and peach beers, chocolate figurines of the manneken pis and 47 Euros worth of baked biscuits (the smell lures you in and I did get two really pretty boxes with them, besides on the last day you lose all sense of money and just want to spend all of your Euros on whatever you can right?)
And so the Belgian adventure was at an end for this trip but I’m sure I’ll be back again, maybe next time I’ll take GB and I’ll watch ‘In Bruges’ beforehand so I understand the excitement of the bell tower!