Trudy (my better half) is going to be writing a bit more for the blog now, woohoo! Here are her views on our recent trip that should help out if you’re wondering what to do in Brussels and some of the things you can get up to. We had a lot of fun, Brussels is definitely a city we could easily move to! Of course we use the word ‘hipster’ a little tongue-in-cheek, but Brussels was funky and fun and…read the below and just go there
Tom and I visited Brussels with my Dad and his girlfriend a few weekends ago. It was one of those places that has never been high on my Europe to-do list but it was easy to get to for all of us and we found some cheap train tickets from Rotterdam for Tom and I to catch on the Friday afternoon so we booked it.
Right from the moment we stepped off the train and found a clean and easy to use metro waiting for us I fell in love with Brussels (or Bruxelles if you want to speak French). This multi-lingual captital of Europe is often overlooked by travelers who either head down to France or up to the Netherlands but this should not be so! I admit that I didn’t expect too much from this little city that you don’t hear a lot about but it quickly became one of my favourite travel destinations.
There is plenty to do in Brussels and for a long weekend away it is the perfect destination. I found the locals incredibly friendly and more than happy to switch back and forth between French, Dutch and English fluently. This is a multi-linguist community at its best.
On the Saturday we spent an inspiring morning at the Herge museum just outside of town where a car really is required – luckily enough we were travelling with my Dad as driving in Europe is not something either of us have been keen to attempt as yet!
That same day we ventured into town to do us a bit of sight-seeing; unbeknownst to us it was the national holiday which meant a lot of partying and some fantastic street music. After a quick wander past Manneken Pis (totally not worth the hype); Dad left Tom and I to our devices and we proceeded on a beer tasting adventure.
We found ourselves a great terrace with some exceptional service and proceeded to sample some of the best beers in the world. Sitting against the wall facing out into a courtyard as a live band played and enjoying the sunshine was one of those moments when I fall in love with travelling all over again. We watched as some locals grabbed a table next to us at the café and proceeded to drink their own 6-pack. The waiter looked their way, smiled and kept serving. They’re an easy going bunch.
Of course there was also the obligatory waffle eating and chocolate shop browsing, there’s a reason the Belgian food is famous!
The Sunday found us stumbling across Porte De Hal – a medieval castle that has been lovingly restored and which kept us geeks occupied for several hours. A beautiful brunch and a wander through the Vossenplein Flea Market and the surrounding streets kept me oohing and aahing over some amazing vintage goodness before we said farewell to my Dad and jumped back on the train. Some Belgian beers and my boy by my side I was smiling as we pulled out of Brussels and headed home to Holland.
Grab a delicious blonde (beer you scoundrel) at the Zebra Bar or any of the surrounding atmospheric and buzzing cafes.
Relax for a Sunday brunch at Potemkine and eat it in the terrace outside Porte de Hal.
Visit the Herge Museum (TinTin rocks!).
Wander the Flea Market at Vossenplein and spend time in the surrounding streets filled with amazing stores such as vintage store Affaire Personelle at Rue Blaes 64 and Stefantiek just up the road.
Tom addition: I actually quite enjoyed seeing Atomium and think it’s worth swinging by at least. It’s a crazy piece of architecture but probably appeals to boys a little more as it throws back to the days when you were sprawled across the carpet clicking bits of Lego together. It’s out of the city a little, but easy enough to get to via metro.
Also you might like to check out the Brussels ‘Comic Strip’ Walk, there are a tonne of comic/cartoon street art scattered all around Brussels which can make a fun walking circuit of the city.
Acommodation Tip: If you’re planning a trip to Brussels and are travelling as a couple or with a family, then you might like to check out websites like Airbnb. These sites can offer some excellent options for getting your own apartment or space and normally offer much more reasonable rates than hotels.
All in all – we loved Brussels. If you’re going to Europe don’t skip over this gem of a city!