Two of mis amigas have recently relocated to Belgium and the Netherlands, so of course I had to go visit ASAP and booked myself a whooole 10 days escape in northern Europe for the Easter holidays.
After my dear friend from University came to visit me over the weekend, I had my bags packed and was rearing for a nothern adventure. Our first stop was the Nuevos Ministerios last L8 metro to the aeropuerto at 1:30am, because what is more adventurous than opting to sleep on the Airport floor for the night instead of forking out 30e for a taxi? Well, a lot of things, but anyway…The floor tiles chilled us to the bone, but I would definitely consider it again. Our 7am flight was a nasty bumpy ride, and we were greeted to horrid windy and FREEZING storms. I even managed to lose 50euro in the wind whilst trying to buy a train ticket… That and the hour and a half commute from the [definitely not in] Brussels Charleroi airport did not inject us with optimism for what Brussels had to offer us.
But we were so, so wrong! I didn’t think a little city has ever surprised me so much. First off, the house we had the pleasure of staying in was eclectic and spectacular. Apart from my ol’ super boss who inspired me last summer and su novio, we were also lodging with a french sheperdess/photographer, speech therapist, market worker, and a man training to be in the circus. They spoke very little English, and we spoke a pitiful amount of French, and yet we felt comfortable and welcome every moment of our stay. I didn’t understand what they were saying, but I was in awe of their loveliness and the creative energy that was powering the house.
Second of all, Brussels was ugly. A lot of it was grey, dirty and run down, juxtaposed against art nouveau architectural delights. Our free walking tour (a must on any city break) taught us the funny history of the city. My favourite story had to be all the badly translated street names (Hotel Amor), and of course Manneken Pis and his enviable wardrobe of 902 costumes. I was in the right place at the right time and managed to get into the Magritte Museum (and others) for free – if I could tell you how I did this, I would, but as far as I am aware I rocked up at 2pm and they handed me a free ticket.
We also visited the Comic Museum, which was worth every euro! Comics are something I’ve always been curious to get into, but never knew where to start. After browsing through dozens, I still don’t, but I’m a tad more inspired to sketch more. Other than that we ate many waffles, frites, drank wine, cherry beer from the world famous Delerium, followed by an absinthe shot that will leave me scarred for life. Another night was spent in drinking wine, eating cheese and bread, whilst realising Sheep are magnificent. Fui perfecto.
After our trip to Amsterdam I was gleaming at the site of brussels as the train approached Gar de Nord. Perhaps it was the people, perhaps it was the beer… Or maybe I just like my cities and company a little rough around the edges. Brussels is a treat of a city and one that I highly recommend it to anyone who shares my dislike of Paris…
Have you visited Brussels? Do you share my love for the city? Share your thoughts in the comments below!