Five Days in Brussels ~

This is a first for me; writing a post while whooshing along the rails from Brussels to Berlin on a high-speed train.  I have to say, it makes for a pretty great office.  I just have to remember to look up from time to time as I’m prone to motion sickness and we’re whooshing backwards.  I’m probably pushing my luck!

This is the first leg of our 8-week grand Eurail adventure; we’re heading to Berlin for 5 days having just spent 5 days in Brussels.  You may find the whole 5 days thing to be a reoccurring theme for the next couple of months.

Back in the Groove

It has taken us 8 days in Lagos plus 5 days in Brussels to get back in to our travel groove, but I think we’re finally in sync. We’re back in stride when navigating a train and/or metro station with trains coming and going and not finding a sign in English to save our lives. All of our little travel habits are back in place. One of our quirky habits is that we make up words. Yep. It’s true.  When we can’t read the local written word, we pronounce it as best we can and then we “Englinize” it making it easier to remember. As it turns out though, just because I’m half German, it doesn’t mean I have an innate ability when it comes to pronunciation.  I think there’s going to be a lot of made up words as we’ll be in Germany for the next 10 days.

Brussels

Going to have to Englinize a few of these!  Joachimstaler has potential to be known – by us – as Jacob Staler.

Brussels

What can I tell you about Brussels?  It’s a lovely city and as it was our first visit to Belgium, it was a great introduction.  Also, I’m going to say it is probably one of the most diverse cities we’ve visited.  I lost count of how many different languages we overheard in passing.  And, I don’t remember going anywhere and not finding someone who spoke English.  Plus, I always say a smile and pantomime go a long way.  Maybe 3 days in I said to Abi, “I haven’t seen so many women in full hajib since we were in Iran in 2015.”  Seemingly, they feel safe and comfortable in their environment and isn’t that a wonderful thing?  As the home of the European Union, I think it’s safe to say that Brussels is a city that embraces diversity.

Some Serious Eating

We spent our time in Brussels roaming the city and enjoying some serious eating.  Our favorite tantalizing treats were freshly baked Brioche with sugar – makes for a great breakfast – and of course Belgian waffles.  The waffles in Brussels taste nothing like Belgian waffles in the states.  There is a mystical magical secret ingredient – my guess is copious amounts of butter – that leaves a caramelized edge on the waffles that is ridiculously yummy.   As my true love, Julia Child, always said, “Everything is better with butter.” And, did I mention the frites?  With poivre sauce?  OMG!  To counter balance the deliciousness, we averaged 6 – 8 miles of walking each day.  I’ll let Abi elaborate on the drinking of beer, but I’m pretty sure he more than enjoyed it.

Brussels

Plunk down 1 eruo and get a hot delicious waffle. Does it get any better?

Historic Brussels

We went looking for a cathedral – or so we thought we were looking for a cathedral – only to discover the cathedral was a part of the underground excavation site of the Coudenberg Palace. If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that one of my favorite aspects of travel is walking in the path of those who came before us.  Walking along an underground cobblestone street – Rue Isabelle – from the 12th century was the ultimate in walking in the path.

Brussels

Rue Isabelle – a cobblestone street from the 12th century – this is actually underground

The historic core of Brussels is beautiful.  We’re always especially pleased to discover we’ve happened upon a UNESCO World Heritage Site, such as the Royal Place – the central square – which is so vast and detailed it’s hard to take it all in.  The architecture of the city hall is remarkable, as is the guild houses which border the square. It’s all stunning.

With just 4 ½ days and 5 nights to explore the city – including 1 day trip to Ghent – I’m sure we did not do the city justice.  But, what we did see and experience, we thoroughly enjoyed.  Not only is there a beautiful blend of old and new architecture, there is also a beautiful blend of people and culture.

 

Our Brussels Cards were hosted by:  visit.brussels

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14 Responses to Five Days in Brussels ~

  • Love those European trains ! We took one from South of France to Barcelona. You are off on your adventures.

    I do hope you had the amazing chocolate in Brussels. If not, just go right back haha

    Funny you choose to highlight the hijab as in our experience women appear to be comfortable wearing the hijab almost anywhere in the world, except for the United States where there is paranoia and overt racism.

    P&B

    • Oh, no worries, Peta, we definitely enjoyed the chocolate in Brussels!

      And, yes, that is the reason why I mentioned the Muslim women, because of what’s happening in the US.

  • So the adventures started, travelling by train will be great…I love it. I have visited Bruges, but not Brussels…I loved the Belgian chocolate, but sounds like you have found plenty of delights to get your tastebuds working overtime? Looking forward to follow your journey
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…Fifty Shades of Downsizing – It’s NOT A One Size Fits All ApproachMy Profile

    • The adventure has indeed begun, Gilda! The chocolate was to die for, I think we showed great restraint though in only buying a few pieces.

  • Only 1 Euro for a waffle?! I’m booking my flight now!! 😉 Rue Isabelle looks spectacular, as does the video. Enjoy – looking forward to seeing more. Continued safe travels!

    • I know, right?! How can you “not” plunk down 1E for a waffle?! Rue Isabelle was amazing, to be in that moment knowing hundreds of years others walked on those cobblestones. Wow.

  • Patti/Abi–It’s so fun to follow your travels. We are designing our retirement now and you are great examples to follow. Thank you for sharing your adventures, food, new words and fun!
    Cathy and Kevin, (hoping to follow in many of your footsteps:)

    • Hello Cathy & Kevin ~ Super news about designing your path of retirement, looking forward to hearing how it all comes together. And, thanks so much for riding along with us!

  • You have to go back to Belgium and visit Bruges, only about an hour from Bruxelles by train. Half way through, the electronic signs on the train change from French to Flemish and you’re going to Brügge. There are lots of English speakers in Flanders because not too many people in the world speak Flemish.You can also do a fascinating tour of the Ypres World War I sites there.

    I know what you mean about Germany and German. You have to look up every syllable on a menu because the last one might mean “calves’ brains”.
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…Museum of the American Revolution – Philadelphia Beyond the Liberty BellMy Profile

    • We had to decide between Ghent and Bruges, and chose Ghent. We had a good day exploring the historic center with the canals and flowers everywhere. The only downside was the entire city center was being set up for an annual 10-day jazz concert so it was a bit disappointing as the festival took away absorbing the charm of the city. I think you’re right, we’ll have to go back and visit Bruges.

  • OMG – The Waffles have me drooling. I can see from your smiles that they were amazing! I was looking at “Kurfurstendamm” and “Neues Kranzler Eck” and wondering how you were going to Englinize it. Love the idea and I’m going to have to try that when next we hit the road. And, despite the tongue twisting names, how great to find that English is spoken and that pantomimes will still work in a pinch. Continue w-h-o-o-s-h-i-n-g along and remember to look up from time to time!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…Konopiste Castle, The Heir to the Austro-Hungarian Throne and The Great WarMy Profile

    • The trick to Englinizing a word is to look at the beginning and end of the word. Kurfurstendamm could easily be read as Kurf’s Damnm. It sticks in your head and it’s close enough to trigger recognizing the full name when seen in the printed word. Crazy, I know, but it works for my brain. 🙂

  • We were in Brussel July 24 to 27. The Royal Place is fantastic. Spent a day in Bruges, it was gorgeous. The architectural structures are amazing. €1.50 waffle is delicious. We enjoyed our short trip to Brussel. But fell in love with Luxembourg. Highly recommended.

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We are Patti and Abi. We retired early to live a simpler life, travel the world and hopefully, inspire others to redefine retirement.

 

2 years, 352 days ago!

 

 

 

 

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