Travelling to another country or even travelling within your own country is exhilarating and can be a lot of fun. I think I have caught the travelling bug and I can not seem to contain myself. I mentioned in my June goals that I wanted to book a weekend getaway abroad so I can have a mini break from all the stress that my work has been giving me. I already had a weekend getaway planned within the UK but I felt like I needed another one abroad. Ever since I got back from Seoul, south korea I have been needing some travel time and I made a decision last month to visit Brussels, Belgium. I had never been to Belgium before but I have always wanted to visit.
One day last month whilst at the office I called M and told her I needed a break and I was going to book a weekend getaway, she was not sure if I was going to do it or not and honestly I was not sure either. Before I even had a chance to think about it I went onto Booking.com and found a 3* hotel for 117 euros (£85) for 2 nights, I reserved the room then went to check ways to get to Brussels from London. I checked Eurostar which was more expensive than my hotel stay for 2 nights so I went and booked one way ticket (£114) from London to Brussels with Eurostar and one way ticket from Brussels to London from Megabus and that was £20.60. This was me all set and done.
Left the UK at 3pm and arrived around 6pm in Brussels (they are an hour ahead), and silly me forgot to change my pounds into euros so had to withdraw at the train station which I do not recommend even though it’s a small fee charged by the bank but it’s a fee nonetheless. I had already printed out a map but for the life of me could not understand anything, Belgium has 3 languages Flemish, Dutch (or is it German) and French but most people speak English. I took a taxis, the driver mentioned my hotel – New Hotel Charlemagne was less than 8 miles away and we arrived in about 10 minutes dude to traffic.
I was very shocked when I arrived at the hotel, I thought I had the wrong hotel because it is so beautiful and I thought it was worth maybe 4*. It was literally 2 minutes walk from the European parliament in Brussels and everything was within reach cafe’s and restaurants all within reach. When I checked in I was shocked to have an espresso machine in my room, obviously you pay for the coffee if you use the pods but it was cute to have that in the room. The room had two single beds pushed together which I did not mind at all, the room was huge and the bathroom was breath taking. I forgot I am a blogger and didn’t take pictures but I am glad I remembered I had gone to relax and nothing else. I had a flat screen TV with million channels covering all of Europe and middle east in different languages, I found the ones in English easily and turned those on. The hotel did an amazing job explaining everything about the hotel and what to expect but other hotels they have around the world in their user friendly manual.
After I had my feel of the room and hotel, I took a 15 minute walk around the hotel to suss out the area and get a feel of where I was. This was my 3rd time going abroad alone but this was the first time where I did not know anyone at my destination nor have anyone to stay with except the hotel. I got some ice cream and Belgian beer and I rested for the night, I wanted to wake up early the following morning and did not want to tire myself out.
Saturday morning came and I headed for the subway, it took me forever to work out their ticket machines and even forever to find someone to ask as the station Schumann was under construction so no people to ask except fellow travellers. I managed to find a fellow tourist who showed me how to work the machines and what ticket to buy, finally travelled to central station where on departing the station I made a decision there and then to take the sightseeing bus around Brussels. For an adult it was 23 euros for 24 hours (Saturday 11am so I had until 11am Sunday), the bus is a hop on hop off type of bus which means during the tour if you find an area you like you can go explore it further and catch another sightseeing bus once you’re done.
With the sightseeing bus you were encouraged to try out the different routes to get a feel for Brussels both north and south. My first tour was on the north bus Line 1 which had 12 stops and expected duration was 75 minutes which suited me just fine. The first stop was leaving the central station where you get a good view of the Grand place (a must see in Brussels), Cathedral and museum of Figuries. I learnt on this tour that Tintin was actually created by Belgians so are the smurfs can you believe that? I was surprised but happy to learn about this as Tintin is my all time favourite kid show.
They were so many places to visit during the city tour, I had already decided I was not going to get off and explore any of the marvellous places since I was scared of getting lost but plan to go back one day and explore. I did how ever do the sightseeing and then went back to the centre where I had my lunch then walked around to explore the tour. The weather was so beautiful, so many things to see the people are so welcoming and happy to give you directions to any place you wanted to visit.
I am definitely heading back to Brussels to explore the Atonium which are 9 large atoms nicely arranged and dedicated to the Belgians who had a scientific achievement. I want to visit the planetarium and the mini Europe on my next visit.
Have you ever been to Brussels or ever wanted to visit?