Brussels, Belgium was the second European Country which I visited during my first travel across Northern Europe. I arrived from Amsterdam. The train ride took approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. One of the most comfortable train journey I had from all my travels.
Top travel tip: When you book your train tickets across Europe, try to book it in advance to get cheaper rates. Unfortunately, I needed to re-book my ticket on the same day, as I had missed my confirmed train during that day due to oversleeping. Well, my excuse is that I partied too hard the night prior to my departure, and therefore the ticket cost me an instant hundred Euros! Three times more expensive, compared to the price of my original booking (completed 2 weeks prior), which was just 30 Euros. Lesson learnt! Don’t party too hard, especially if you have an early trip the next day.
As unfortunate as it was, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the rest of my adventure.
The moment I arrived in Brussels, I took a stroll and instantly felt a strong connection with the place. The photographer in me just couldn’t stop giggling! Ever had that feeling, when visiting somewhere for the first time, that you’ve been there before? That every street and old building in the city looked familiar? Not because you had seen it in photos and videos, but because you had been there or possibly even lived there? That’s how I felt! Weird, but of all the places and cities I’ve visited in my life, I felt this familiarity the strongest in Brussels. Well, maybe I was Belgian in my past life, who knows.
My favourite place in Brussels is the La Grand Place, Brussel’s main square. It’s one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices: the city's Town Hall, and the King's House or Breadhouse. I spent each morning having coffee and breakfast at one of the coffee shops in the square and just watched pedestrians pass by. The best way to start your day in Brussels.
Five minutes walk from the Grand Place, at the junction of the Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat and the pedestrian Rue de l'Étuve/Stoofstraat, you will find the ‘Mannekin Pis’. A statue of a small boy peeing, which is considered to be one of the most symbolic in Brussels. A must-see when you visit the first time.
Within the city center, the discovery of unique Belgium culture and traditions never ends. But one thing that really captivated me was the statue of Everard t'Serclaes. Legend has it that rubbing her arm will ensure one's return to Brussels. So without hesitation, I rubbed the statue’s arm vigorously. Let’s hope this ensures my return.
I spent most of my days in Brussels exploring the city, getting to know new friends and taking photos of anything that caught my attention. Funny thing is, everything in Brussels caught my attention! From It’s edifices of stunning architecture, to it’s different cobbled streets! I felt like an animal which had lived in captivity and was finally released into its natural habitat. I had never felt such joy! When time comes for me to relocate and settle, without hesitation… it has to be Brussels.