Said the Police man at the passport control.
Yes I am.
I booked a cheap Eurostar train ticket and went to Belgium last friday night. The train ride is supposed to take 2 hours but 10 minutes into the trip, the train had to stop due to some incident on the rails. And so we stayed there for what looked like forever and arrived in Brussels at 3.40 am, 5 hours after hour ETA. Luckily, Eurostar paid for a hotel since we arrived that late so an hour later I was at the closest Novotel, in a massive room and I managed to sleep for couple of hours. So here you go, my first pic from Brussels.
I woke up, had breakfast, a lovely hot shower and I was off to the apartment I booked with Airbnb in the neighborhood called Sablon, in the city centre. The place was lovely and so close to the main attractions in Brussels.
I already lost half a day at that point so I dropped off the bag and started wondering with my umbrella and my camera. All the main museums were at walking distance, how lucky thinking that I booked the place quite randomly.
Not sure I said it before, but I like to see two things when I travel: churches and museums. But I decided to skip the biggest art museum and go for something quite alternative: the Musée des Instruments de Musique (€8).
More than 2000 instruments are on display, but the best part is the audio guide: they give you a little tablet and you have to select the number related to one of the instruments you’re looking at and you will hear the related sound. Brilliant!
The journey from bagpipes, to carillons to harpsichords is very interesting and absolutely worth a visit.
From there you can head to the city centre within 10 minutes.
On my way to the Grand Place, the central square of Brussels – UNESCO world heritage site -I have notices tons of chocolate, waffles and fries (called frites) shops. At that point I was quite cold and hungry so after wondering for a bit, I stopped in this frites shop to get my portion of very oil but delicious fries with mayo.
With some food in the belly, everything seems better and even if I was extremely tired after the long night I had, I kept on going and I stopped at the Museum of Costume and Lace (€4).
This was the perfect museum for me cause I am currently reading a series of book called Outlander, set in Scotland in 1740 so I am really curious to see how the dresses and costumes were like back then.
The current exhibition is called Crinolines & Cie. I had no idea what a crinoline was – a structure petticoat designed to hold out a woman’s skirt – but there are some on display as well as a floor completely dedicated to lace.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
On my way back to the apartment I bumped into a small road show, maybe for the upcoming carnival, with people wearing costumes and a band playing, very folkloristic.
The day ended with couple of absolutely delicious Belgian beers with a good friend that lives in Brussels.
Day 2 was way shorter, the train to London was at 3pm so I decided to wake up slowly and go out for breakfast. I found a cafe round the corner, with a beautiful view overlooking the Église Notre-Dame du Sablon. After breakfast I took a walk in the neighborhood and bought some chocolate (of course!). I then packed my stuff and went to explore for couple more hours.
Brussels was my first official solo trip.
I always wanted to do it and the best part of it was having the freedom of doing absolutely what I wanted. And I am not saying that if you’re with somebody else you can’t do this or that, but knowing that you can take your own time to visit a museum and to chill in a cafe for as long as you want is absolutely beautiful.
If you think traveling by yourself is odd and that you might be uncomfortable having lunch at a table by yourself, think again because this could be a chance to interact with new people or to have a look around and actually enjoy every single moment of the meal you’re having.
There is nothing wrong with traveling solo, go out there and explore!
Life is way too short to think about what the others will say.