Visiting Brussels made sense. We wanted to go to Bruges, but there were no flights landing in Bruges from the UK. So we had to land in Brussels. We decided to stay the night here and spend the day in Brussels before going on to Bruges. Well, it’s another place we can tick off our bucket list at least!
So our first impression of Brussels was not a good one. We had booked a hotel near the bus station called hotel Midi-Zuid.
It was just a basic hotel, nothing great. But what I couldn’t get over was the lift! Never seen anything like it before! Was literally just a cupboard! And if you touched the sides it would stop working,
Our First Night In Brussels
Anyway, I know this hotel has a lot of bad reviews, but I thought the room was nice. And it was cheap so you get what you pay for, I guess.
The area itself was rough. The hotel was situated between porn and gay sex saunas. In fact, when we read the review of others experiences, we learnt that even the taxi drivers tell you not to wander the streets at night.
We were going to go to a pub here but decided not to as it might not be safe going back to the hotel when we had had a few. ( and we couldn’t find any pubs anyway. So there was that)
So we decided to go to a shop instead, purchase some booze and have a drink in the hotel before going to sleep.
Safety Tip When Handling Cash
Just a quick tip for anyone paying with cash. Don’t get all your notes out when handing cash to the shop assistant.
When Alan went to pay for the booze, he had a bumbag with him and he got wads of notes out. Meanwhile, this other customer was eyeing up all of Alans notes. Not a nice feeling!
Luckily nothing happened. But just to be on the safe side only bring/take out of your wallet what you need and hide it as much as you can.
Our Day In Brussels
We ate breakfast in the hotel, which consisted of bread and cheese. For those who don’t know – bread and cheese are a Belgium breakfast tradition. Not great if you are used to the full English breakfast! So we came away feeling dissatisfied.
So after breakfast, we wondered into Brussels main centre. It was a 25-minute walk from the hotel. It was lovely in the main square. Full of gothic style looking Buildings. We wanted to learn more, so we decided to go on a history tour around Brussels.
Brussels History Tour
We had this woman called Maggie. She brought her little dog with her and carried him around in this bag. He was cute.
Maggie took us to view the graffiti and art in Brussels.
She talked about the chocolate, beer. And in the middle of the tour we stopped off in a pub to have a drink, and she gave us some advice on which beer to order depending on our taste.
Did you know in Brussels you can also drink in the streets? Felt weird carrying my cup of beer around while on the walking tour…
Interesting Facts I Learned In Brussels
We learned a lot on the tour including information about the fries. Cause if you didn’t know – Belgium is famous for their fries. So if you ever go to Belgium don’t ask for french fries! As this is an insult! Don’t be wearing a t-shirt saying ‘I love french fries’ on now, will you!
We also got to see the Mannequin Pis. Which is Belgium’s landmark. It’s tiny! But there you go instead of Eiffel Tower and Statue Of Liberty they have the Mannequin Pis!
The Mannequin Pis will be dressed differently depending on when you go to Brussels. It has dressed up as Madonna before, Santa on Christmas etc.
Can’t believe the Mannequin Pis has been stolen multiple times before! Has always managed to be returned to its original spot.
Maggie also took us into a shopping centre, with beautiful art on the ceiling. The shopping centre was filled with gorgeous looking chocolate shops. She talked about the different types of chocolate.
And apparently, if you are living in Belguim there are different types of chocolate that you buy for people – depending on how much you like them (or not)
So if you give a certain brand of Belgium chocolate to someone it’s basically saying ‘i don’t think that much of you!’ Sadly I can’t remember the names of these chocolates.
We finished off the tour with a history talk. This tour is advertised as free and at the end, you decide how much you want to give.
On our way to get a spot of lunch, we spotted the gardens. Which was something we wanted to see in Brussels. It was nice to see them. Although no flowers, like sometimes you see in photos.
After having lunch we decided to get our luggage from the hotel and find the train station for our ride to Bruges!