August 3 – 6, 2014
Both Jess and I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit prior to this trip so one would think we would know a thing or two about transport to and from the airport. And not only to and from the airport, but we’d usually know which airport we are flying into and out of. Welcome to Brussels!
I (Steven) had been in charge of finding the most economical way from Brussels airport to our hotel, which I did. Only thing was, I found the most economical route from the wrong airport. We actually landed 60 KM’s south of Brussels at Charleroi Airport and not Brussels National, which is only 15 KM’s east of City Center. Needless to say, we had difficulty finding the €5 shuttle into the city from Charleroi. Once we found the right shuttle for the 1-hour journey into Brussels, we made sure to buy our return ticket that saved us some $$. Not quite. When we were checking in for our flight from Brussels to Barcelona, we realized that we were actually flying out of Brussels National Airport and not Charleroi. A humbling travel experience to say the least and our first real ‘marriage’ test of the trip. Who’s to blame for this one? Anyway, onto Brussels…
Chocolate, waffles, and beer are what many around the world think of when it comes to Belgian food, however, many Belgians would argue that the French Fry was actually born in Belgium and is probably their most famous dish. They are double fried, served with mayo and are delicious. We managed to try all of the above and none disappointed, particularly the Beer. For waffles we headed to Maison Dandoy, just off Grand Place as we had read that it was the place to go for the best waffles in Brussels. The waffles were great, however we learned on our walking tour that the little waffle vans you find parked around the city are just as tasty, if not better, and much more budget friendly.
For beer, a friend of ours (Thanks Chuck!) had recommended Delirium Cafe, as did our tour guide. Thanks to both of you as this place was heaven on earth with over 3,000 different beer on the menu.
We decided to take a free walking tour of the City Center that takes you around on foot to many of the top tourist sites giving you a little history on each. The first thing we learned was that Brussels has a reputation of being a boring city and one that’s just a stop over for people travelling between Amsterdam and Paris. We would beg to differ. On the walking tour we met a fellow Canadian (from Halifax) traveller and ended up hanging out for the evening. In Brussels and the majority of European cities, we’ve come to discover that it seems to be acceptable to drink ‘responsibly’ in public so later in the evening we headed to Grand Place for a couple of drinks and to take it all in. Earlier in the day, we had learned about the history of the Grand Place and all of the buildings inside, so it was cool to hang out there at night. Brussels is the unofficial capital of the European Union and thus has a “European District” which houses the European Commission and Parliament which we visited on our last day. Overall, Brussels was a great experience and a ‘stopover’ that we’d likely plan again. With so much history, two days just really isn’t enough to see this beautiful city. jess + trickett Here are some additional photos from our time in Belgium: