After a hectic week, I’m finally sat down with a brew and taking stock of the events of the past few days.
Whilst I don’t want to get into a political/radical rant about the disgusting actions of the individuals who brought terror on Brussels this week (and quite probably Paris in November), I would like to share some positive words about Brussels itself.
What a magnificent place! I only visited Brussels with Nadina (my partner) in December of last year for a romantic getaway. Before travelling we were apprehensive after the Paris attacks – and perhaps rightly so after this weeks turn of events – but my word am I glad we got the opportunity to see such a wonderful city – and return home safely!
Our hotel was in a fantastic situ, within walking distance of the city centre and many of the sites; The Grand Place, The Royal Palace, Manneken Pi, The Town Hall – all mesmerising. The buildings in general are fascinating, with a stunning mix of gothic and art nouveau architecture.
The food was tremendous, we sampled several cuisines at various restaurants, but I was particularly taken aback by the Belgian specialities, which up until my trip I did not know included vol au vants, a beef stew-like dish, meatballs and of course – frites! We found a qwerky, yet traditional, restaurant called Chutney’s Brasserie, which served up a Belgian trio (the three listed above) all in one dish – they don’t sound particularly inspiring I know, but it was fabulous!
Of course, we can’t talk about Belgium and food without mentioning the waffles (swoon)…
Next up and probably my favourite part, was sampling all of the different beers. It felt as though care seemed to be taken with most things in Brussels and this was reflected in the service at bars and restaurants. When I finally managed to pick a beer from the many available (as many as 100 in some places), the ice cold bottle was presented, with a matching individual glass to pour into. This sounds trivial, but I really enjoyed it. I guess 10 years of drinking in run down boozers in Blackpool and the north west, sipping on cat piss out of cloudy Carling glasses makes you appreciate the small things when you travel. Anyway, the beers were brilliant and I drank lots of ’em (some pictured)!
So the sites, the buildings, the food and the drinks were cracking. But the thing that made this trip so special (and all the more so after this week), was the atmosphere and the people (and of course my lovely partner for company). I felt an air of sophistication within Brussels, it felt special, like a significant place which I’m delighted to have ticked off my list. A city centre buzzing with Christmas markets and a welcoming mix of friendly locals and sightseers.
With so much love for Brussels and life long memories made there, this weeks attacks touched my heart. I was only in that same airport less than 3 months ago and could easily have been caught up in the tragedy – that kind of realisation really puts things into perspective.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones. I really believe, as human beings, we must – and will – unite to overcome this dark period.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided”
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Peace and Love.