I cant believe it has been a whole year since I visited Italy and I’ve been itching to travel somewhere new ever since. And in May, I became slightly addicted to the Secret Escapes website and searching for a wonderful break on there. Finally, after many hours spent on the site, I found a three night break to Brussels, Belgium. I was so excited! The stay was booked with the Leopold Hotel and it looked so beautiful. So I booked the break and finally a few weeks ago, it was off on the Eurostar I went with my boyfriend!
As soon as we arrived in Brussels, I couldn’t wait to start venturing around the city. We were lucky enough for our hotel to be just around the corner from the Belgium Royal Palace, the Belgium government and was just a short walk away from the Grand Place. The Grand Place was a place I’d be looking at online in my months of excitement and I couldn’t wait to take a stroll there. The buildings were absolutely beautiful and had so many intricate details that you could spend hours on end just looking at them. In fact, that’s exactly what we did. Around the square, there were so many cafe’s, coffee shops and chocolate shops where you could enjoy an afternoon. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a Starbucks right in the middle of the square!
On one of the days of our holiday, we managed to take a tour of Brussels. And there were so many wonderful sights that I really didn’t expect to see. One of the things that surprised me most was that Brussels have a replica of Notre Dame right in the middle of the city. Before our tour, I had no idea that the Notre Dame du Sablon even existed but I was more than just a little bit amazed by it. The picture just doesn’t even do the building justice.
While I was in Brussels, it turned out to be National Belgium Day, 21st July. What absolute perfect timing. I had no idea what sort of celebrations would be happening during the city. And the scale of the celebrations were just crazy. Throughout the whole city, there were stalls of Belgium food: frites, waffles and lots of Belgium beer! There were even stages where acts performed for a massive crowd. The celebrations lasted all day, but my favourite part was the night. As the finale for the celebrations, outside the Royal Palace, there seemed to be hundreds of people gathered ready to watch a display of fireworks that lasted for around 30 minutes. It was the perfect ending to such a wonderful day. This National Holiday also marked the official opening of the Belgium palace. We were told that the palace is only open for around 2 months a year, making it very good timing of our holiday. Of course, once I knew this information I really did have to visit the palace. We visited on the day after the National Holiday and it was free entry which really surprised me. Naturally, the whole palace wasn’t open to tourists and there were clever little barriers to guide us around the rooms we were allowed in. All of the furniture and pieces of art were numbered and at the start of the tour, you could purchase a little guidebook to give you more information on all these items for just 1 euro. And being the little geek that I am, I went straight for this and started reading off information like a little private tour guide. One thing I will say about the royal palace was that it had so many fancy chandeliers in every single room. I think we lost count of them halfway through our visit. But it was all so very beautiful.
There were so many wonderful things to see in Brussels and I just wish I had more time to see them all. On our tour, we got to see a lot of things that I guess we wouldn’t have seen if we just wandered around alone, but we didn’t get much chance to explore as much as we would have liked. But I really would recommend Brussels as a city you just have to visit. If not for all the wonderful sights that you’ll see, but for the amazing chocolate, waffles and beer. I would not be surprised at all if I’ve put on at least half a stone from that holiday, but it was so worth it.