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.
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.