Trip to Brussels!

I love to travel. I’m always planning my next trips and thinking about places I could go and what I could do there – even if I have no realistic way of actually making it happen. Like in this last year, where a lack of money and time meant that there were 14 months between holidays abroad. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some catching up now.


Starting with a long weekend in Brussels. We’d been talking about going for a while, since we spent a day in Amsterdam on our way back from Curacao (yeah, 14 months ago). In general, P isn’t much for city breaks, he’d rather lie on the beach in the sun and I can’t really blame him for that, that’s pretty fun. I think Amsterdam convinced him that a few days in a new city can be fun too.

We both fancied Belgium, partly because of waffles and beer, partly because of an interest in the history and culture of the country that is now the head of the EU. Since P had passed his viva on 1st of November, we decided to fly to Brussels on the 10th, which is also his birthday (Happy birthday P!) We’d fly back on the 14th, presumably having eaten our own weight in waffles and frites.

There’s a waffle under there somewhere

The flight passed uneventfully and soon we were checking into our slightly bizarre hotel, right in the centre of the old town. I say slightly bizarre because they have no reception or staffed front desk. Instead, they email you one code to open the door and a second to open a locker that contains your key, then when you check out, you drop the key back into a different locker and that’s it. If you have social anxiety and hate speaking to hotel staff, this is the place for you!

It was nice, though. It was an apartment hotel, so we had a kitchenette and a small dining table, as well as a sofa, TV, desk, bathroom and separate bedroom. Plenty of space to spread out and not be sitting on top of each other or on our luggage. Plus, having a kitchenette is really handy for when you want to make your own snacks.

There’s no point in flying to a new and exciting place just to sit in your hotel room, though. We had to go exploring. On the first day we mostly did this on foot, wandering around the old town and nearby areas and catching the tail end of a small flea market, that is apparently a long standing tradition and runs every day.

We also found Mannekin Pis, the first of the family of pissing Brussels statues. We resolved to find his sister and dog before we left.

On the second day we took a bus tour around the city to make sure we didn’t miss any of the sights, and decided to get off at the Atomium. Realistically, how could we not, as scientists, get off at a structure modelled after an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times? It’s a very imposing structure and we enjoyed exploring it, but more about that later.

We have a bit of a tradition when we go on holiday of checking out weird museums. This time it was the Museum of Erotica and Mythologies. Oo-er. The very attentive, friendly and helpful museum curator buzzed us in, chatted to us for a while, handed us some guides to the exhibits and then, mercifully, left us alone. The museum was both fascinating and hilarious and if ever you find yourself in Brussels I recommend tracking it down.

As always, these trips end far too quickly, although for my livers sake it might be a good thing. Belgian beer is two things: delicious and strong. Oh, and they don’t always bother the list the strength on menus – at one point P ordered a beer that turned out to be 12%. That’s basically wine strength. I have no idea how they do it. Fortunately, there’s always a place around the corner selling huge cones of fries topped with whatever sauce you’d like.

We were tired when we set off home, but happy. We’d done a good job of exploring the city, although I can’t believe that we saw anything like everything that’s worth seeing there. That’s something of a relief – when we mentioned our plans to visit Brussels more than one person told me not to bother, that there wasn’t much to do and we’d be better going to Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp. One friend suggested we take a day trip to at least one of these places but honestly, in our short trip, we wouldn’t have had time. Brussels is underrated and very much worth visiting. I’m very glad we went.


9 thoughts on “Trip to Brussels!

      1. Ta. I’m not much of a traveller, but, as a politics geek, I must confess that Brussels is somewhere that I wouldn’t mind seeing (as the spiritual home of the EU and to visit the European Parliament šŸ™‚ ).

        Liked by 1 person

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