Next up on our European adventure… two nights in Amsterdam!

We stayed in the fun and colourful Art Hotel Amsterdam, just a ten minute bus ride from the city centre. Amsterdam was so easy to explore, with this hotel acting as a great base but far enough away from the centre to not be full of drunken stag and hens!

We enjoyed a couple of days exploring the city, from wandering along its many famed canals to an eye opening meander through the red light district (even during the day time there were certainly still some sights!). We visited the Dutch Resistance Museum which provided a real insight into the role of the Netherlands in WW2. We also enjoyed shopping at their fabulous department store De Bijenkorf – the roof top cafe has some amazing views and some even better cakes! We rounded off the trip with a delicious meal at Gaucho – steak to die for, a must do for any carnivore. 

All in all, we really enjoyed exploring another new city! Our next stop was probably be favourite of our trip… 

Bruges & Brussels

I didn’t really know what to expect from Belgium.  I’ll be honest and say that it’s not somewhere that had previously rated highly on my list of places to visit.  Yet we started our eurotrip here, and I was left both surprised and enchanted by the peace and charm of the country, and of Bruges in particular.

Taking just 2 hours from St Pancras to Brussels Midi, this was our first trip on the Eurostar and we found the journey pleasant and straightforward.  We travelled in standard class, and it was simply a question of checking in, boarding and relaxing.  Before we knew it we had arrived at Brussels Midi station, where we caught a train on to Bruges- a journey that takes around an hour- for our first overnight stop of the trip.

We stayed in the Martin’s Relais hotel, a beautiful converted 17th century canal house just a short walk from the Market Square of Bruge.  We found the location excellent, although we did get a little lost on an after dinner stroll by the canal! However, this allowed us to see a lot of this beautiful little city.  When we visited it was quiet, with very few tourists to be seen, and I would definitely recommend visiting in off peak periods when you have room to enjoy the city free of crowds.

We also paid a visit to the chocolate museum Choco Story, and enjoyed learning about how chocolate is made and Belgium’s relationship with chocolate as it is today.  As one would expect, there were free samples, so I would recommend for any visitors with a sweet tooth.

After a couple of days enjoying tranquility of Bruges, we made our way back to the capital city- Brussels.

In Brussels we stayed in the Motel One– a modern design hotel that was a world away from our previous accomodation! It was also in a great location, within walking distance of the Grand-Place and famed Manneken Pis statue.

The aforementioned statue was the one thing I particularly wanted to see on my visit to Brussels, as I remember as a child my dad telling me the story and of how he had visited Brussels as a youth and gone to see the statue; which he told me was dressed up at the time. In truth, I was a little underwhelmed, as I didn’t expect the statue to be so small- I don’t know why, but I was expecting something grander! My disappointment was forgotten however when we walked in to the Grand-Place… such beautiful architecture wherever you looked.

We couldn’t leave Belgium without trying a waffle (any excuse), so we spent our last night there trying their beers (husband) and eating far too much sugar (both of us..) before we headed off to our next destination… Amsterdam.