Hello all, I am back with another travel blog post after a long break about my joint birthday weekender experiences in Brussels, Belgium.
I joined forces with my friend Kule who is also a February baby to plan a girls trip. After several destination changes and drop in numbers, we finally settled on Brussels a destination which I have wanted to go to for a while. We booked the Eurostar/flight in November to get it and focus on accommodation and the itinerary. The break turned out to be the perfect girls trip and now a certified travel squad for other crazy adventures (shoutout to Wura, Yasmin and Wemmy for making me and Kule’s birthday trip enjoyable!)
*Fast forward to February*
Our Eurostar was in early in the morning so it gave us time to meet up with Kule who flew in from elsewhere. We took full advantage of using the Uber app whilst out there which was cheap being split between 5 people. We stayed at the Aqua Hotel in Ixelles which was not too far from the city centre. It also helped that around the corner from our hotel were plenty of shops and familiar places to eat at.
Saturday 23rd February
After finally haggling to get rooms that are somewhat close to each other (we were originally assigned rooms on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor respectively) we freshened up, did our necessary wig switches and got ready to go and buy the Brussels Card. This was within a reasonable walking distance from our hotel which was nice to get a feel for the city. There were however some very unpleasant smells that we encountered all throughout the holiday but alas it was still nice to be experiencing another country. By the time we got our Brussels Card, most of the museums were closed so weren’t able to squeeze one in. We did, however, have the energy to locate a great waffle place to satisfy the waffle cravings shortly after a brief photoshoot near the visit Brussels office. Along the way, to the waffle spot, we walked through the infamous Grand Place where there were several waffle spots, Belgian fries places and souvenir shops.
Sometimes a change to your original plan is a good thing so we decided to quickly find a spot to eat dinner as opposed to eating just waffles. We found a nice pizzeria called Nona which was reasonably priced about €25 max will get you for a very generous sized pizza and cocktail. We only ended up eating half of the pizza so we could have space for a cheeky waffle from a local stall which was also on the hefty generous size. We got back to our hotel and made a quick trip to a local night shop to prepare for the eventful night out. All I remember is me showering, getting ready, going up to one of the rooms our party was staying in and taking a ton of pictures. After a few JD drinks, some parts of the night are huge blur that I cannot recall unless shown photographic and video graphic evidence. I remember us taking Uber to two different clubs (Jymmy Hoo and Bloody Louis) and firmed my heels all night. I was clearly very slumped because I woke up the next morning with my leftover pizza box on the floor.
Sunday 24th February
After a fulfilling hangover cure breakfast, we decided to get cracking with our brief itinerary as we only had Sunday and a portion of Monday to see attractions; bear in mind a lot of things are closed on Mondays. On our way to the first attraction we saw some Lime S scooters and we were all eager to give them a whirl. After a while of organising our app and securing our scooter, we went to Brussels Park as a means to practice and also take pictures. The weather was absolutely stunning and the sun was really beaming down. We spent about an hour or so doing photo ops and riding around so we headed towards our first attraction. I will be honest and say that I was very shaky with stopping and starting almost crashing into my friends but eventually I eased my way into it. We intended to see the Fashion and Lace Museum but couldn’t locate it at the time so we settled for the Beer Museum. I was very underwhelmed with this attraction and it simply doesn’t compare to the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam or Visit Carlsberg in Copenhagen. They offered a free beer but the actual attraction itself was a mere TV presentation with some posters. If you like to know about the history of a beer brand then this attraction won’t be it for you. After that disappointment, we ended up finding the Fashion and Lace Museum which was so much better. There were 3 floors which showcased a plethora of lace collections and fashion collections. I must say the underlying theme of the back was prevalent throughout the museum and the collections of dresses on display were stunning. We eagerly wanted waffles so we stopped at Waffle Factory to see what it’s all about. I can honestly say that buying waffles from local stores are much cheaper, better and bigger compared to going to known stores. The waffle was average not too bad until I saw a hair on my waffle after the whole thing fell apart whilst eating. On top of that, I was traumatized by the toilet but firmed it because I was desperate for the loo. The last attraction for the day was the City of Brussels museum which was located in the beautiful Grand Place square. There were 3 floors which showcased a plethora of artefacts, tapestries and collections showcasing the history of Brussels from it’s early beginnings to the present day Brussels we see today. We were all pretty tired at this point so we set off back to our hotel for a needed rest.
We got dressed up and went to eat dinner at an affordable Italian restaurant passed the Grand Place. The food was decent however the professionalism disappeared after visitor’s reaction to the cat of the owners roaming around whilst we were eating. Personally, I don’t mind cats but at the same time, a cat freely sauntering around is the last thing I expect to see whilst eating. The owners started being a bit cold and rude to all parties who reacted to their cat with screams. The night was still pretty young since we had dinner so late so we made our way to a bar to grab some cocktails before making our way back to call it a night. It was clear at this point that men in Brussels are mad after a group of boys started following us after declining giving them a lighter and I got into with a rude Uber driver after trying to close the automatic door that he was taking forever to close. The gag is that Uber driver ended up being our ride back to the hotel.
Monday 25th February
After our last fulfilling breakfast, we set off for the Comic Book Museum partly on our trusty Lime S scooters which I must say this museum was bigger than I anticipated judging from the outside. The museum showcases the history of comic strip art, its inception and the advancement in various forms. I was particularly happy to see art and exhibitions dedicated to both the Smurfs and Tin Tin, two cartoons I grew up watching and knowing that they were created by Belgian artists (Peyo and Herge respectively). I was personally looking forward to visiting the Botanical Gardens if it hailed in comparison to Kew Gardens. However, just like the Beer Museum, I was underwhelmed with the attraction as it was simply nicely cut and arranged grass in the middle of a park. Nonetheless, the weather was equally as lovely so it made a great backdrop for a quick photo shoot. Now the best part of this Brussels trip was visiting Choco Story where we were taken through the history of the chocolate trade and also the origins of chocolate from the cocoa trees to the final product we all know and love today and plus how chocolate is made. It was especially exciting to see a live demonstration for a master chocolateur and have to opportunity to taste the varying types of chocolate too. Time was of the essence so we made our way to the final attraction of the trip which was the Margitte Museum. This museum houses the work of the famous Belgian artist Rene Margitte who specialised in the form of surrealism. The artwork spanned from the length of his career and also contained pieces from his infamous vache period (1947-1948). I will say there is a lot of nude artwork but I kind of liked the way his paintings of women didn’t depict the bodies as perfect but he wasn’t afraid to include hair lol. We got through this museum pretty quickly as we were pressed for time however we wanted to have one last meal before drawing a close to this weekender…. Big mistake! I highly recommend for no one to eat at Boston Steakhouse due to the poor and rude service from the manager who took the liberty of being difficult when my poor friend simply wanted to change her drink to something else.
Overall, the trip was a very much hilarious girls trip so much that we are already planning the next one! I wished we had another day to get to see the attractions and to also enjoy the lovely weather that I really wasn’t expecting but alas it was a good weekend refresher. To fact that some members of the group didn’t know each other prior to the trip and how we clicked was a success to me if I am being honest. I must say it is imperative for anyone visiting Brussels to try the waffles, chocolate and fries (I will endeavour to do this next time) these, for the most part, were nice apart from the hair incident at Waffle Factory. You don’t have to worry about the gym or gaining weight because the walking you will do will definitely be enough cardio. One thing that really put a dampener on this holiday for me the rude weird advances of men from the moment we touched the hotel. It made me very wary and self-conscious as I wasn’t sure if I had to be ready to karate kick somebody’s son or not. Also, something I must mention was the vast amount of construction work taking place on Brussels roads which at some points were very tedious to manoeuver around combined with some weird smells in the air on occasion. But we did our best to not let this get us down so we can fully take in the experience and enjoy the moments we had there.
Until my next adventure,