It is still a bit surreal for me to realize how easy it is to travel right now. We hopped on a bus (which then hopped on a ferry/train for a short period of time) and with 8 or so hours of driving were in our destination country. Belgium is officially the third country I’ve ever been to (unless you count France – we had to drive through France to get to Belgium. But we didn’t stop) outside of the US. It also isn’t really a place I ever thought I’d visit, but I’m really glad I did.
There were six of us in total, Angela, Angelica, Laura, Lily, Chelsea, and myself. The Megabus dropped us off just after 6 am in Brussels, before most businesses (including our hostel) were open. So we trooped around, luggage in tow, in the direction of our lodgings. Luckily there was a cafe that was just opening as we passed. We sat around and waited until they opened, because, well, coffee. We were hardly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after an overnight bus trip. Plus, this cafe had AMAZING looking tarts and meringues. The fact that they had wi-fi also helped us stay, chat, and kill time until we could see if our hostel room was ready.
As the day progressed, we checked in to the hostel (read: really nice loft), showered and changed, and headed out again for our first order of business: Belgian waffles. (What else could we have possibly done first?!) The “tourist” waffles were piled high with so many toppings you almost lost the waffle. The next day we all tried the “local” style waffles: just a waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar. I definitely preferred the powdered sugar waffle. It was better than a funnel cake!
There is one incredibly convenient thing about Brussels: you’re almost always slightly less than a mile away from wherever you want to go. We were able to see the entire city on foot, using online articles to decide where to go next. And it is a beautiful city! I loved all the architecture and cobble-stoned streets. It is so different from London, which I’m almost used to now.
Of course, I could not write about Brussels and forget about CHOCOLATE. Chocolate everywhere. So, so much chocolate. And yes, the chocolate is all as good as you would imagine Belgian chocolate would be. My favorite sample was a dark chocolate covered hazelnut. I never got to try the chocolate covered orange peels, but I bet they were fabulous.
All in all, our just-slightly-over-24-hour trip to Brussels was pretty amazing. I enjoyed the weather and the architecture and the FOOD. There was so much food. Waffles and chocolate and fries and pizza and tarts and macaroons and croissants. The quirky local things that no one can make up, like the statue of the peeing boy that has a larger wardrobe than I do. The picturesque cobblestone streets that made three carry on suitcases sound like a small army of travelers. Crossing the English Channel at 2 am on a noisy, crowded ferry. I have always loved traveling, but now I think I am officially addicted – especially if it is a slightly out of the way place that is less crowded. If I could, I would travel every weekend – even knowing how exhausted I would be on Monday morning.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller