It was becoming a tradition: every May Bank Holiday, we’d take a bus down to the port of Dover, all the way to the Continent. Last year took us to Paris, then thanks to a very delayed arrival in Paris, we got free return tickets to anywhere in the network. We chose Brussels. From a young age, I had always wanted to visit Belgium. I had an image of a magical chocolate box country, perfectly Alpine despite being nowhere near the Alps. I think I basically pictured Belgium, Switzerland and Austria to all look like Bavaria.
The bus got us in just before the sunrise. We walked through Brussels in the dark, where frites scattered the stairs of the grand buildings. The sun began to rise as we approached our hotel, and suddenly Brussels became a lot less sketchy. We stayed at Chic Cocoon Guesthouse, an AirBnb type property that lived up to its Chic title.
First on our agenda was “the famous bit”. Mannekin Pis was underwhelming. We walked past it with merely a “huh”.
We behaved like tourists, getting warm Liege waffles sprinkled generously with Speculoos crumbs and eating them in the square of the Grand Place. We paid for it – I dropped my waffle. Did the 3 second rule immediately kick in? I can’t say.
After this, we checked out a few chocolate shops in the area and then walked to see the palace, taking a significant detour to eat frites from Frite Flagey. I recommend getting something on those frites otherwise, whilst crispy and firm – they’re just… fries.
We walked back to our hotel after this brief walking tour, tired after the overnight bus. In the evening, we had an enjoyable meal at Les Rendezvous Des Artistes near Louise. It’s a great little place that’s also not extortionate compared to the pricey Louise area.
The next day was a Bruges day trip which you can read about here!
The next day was a day of pretty parks. We headed to the Mini Europe but Alessio was less than impressed by having to pay to get in to see mini versions of “places he’s probably seen”. I was sad, but he had a point. Instead we found a nearby cheap mini market to buy a lunch picnic.
After the lunch picnic, we went back into the centre to buy chocolates from the friendly staff at Corné Port-Royal near the Grand Place. Our coach home still had a few hours until it was due, so we visited the Parc Du Cinquantenaire. This was a very pretty park, and possibly my favourite thing to do.
Finally, we took a walk near the European Union district, where there were plenty of very official people buzzing around. It’s not very worth the trek but there are a few nice places to eat before heading home.
If I named my top 2 things, I’d say:
Parc du Cinquantenaire
But I would highly recommend a Bruges day trip!
What did you love about Brussels? What were your favourite sights?