I arrived to Brussels from Amsterdam in a (yet another) Flixbus at about 10pm. I usually try not to arrive late to a new city. But I wanted to spend the day in Amsterdam and since hostels were quite expensive for a Saturday night there, I decided to sleep over in Brussels which is 3 hours away.
I arrived to Gare Nord which is in the “downtown” area, business and modern buildings zone.
A short walk from the station and I made it to my hostel. Exhausted as I was, after waking up the night before at 4AM and walking all day long throughout Amsterdam, I was finally near a bed… Except that when I try to check-in someone else did it under my name that morning. Just Great.
After a conversation that went like this: -Receptionist: “Are you really who you say you are? because someone else said it was you” -Me: “YES I am me, and here is my passport to prove it. Did you check that other girl’s passport?” -R:”No…” -Me:”Are you crazy? how did you checked someone in without asking for a passport?” -R: “…”.
Few exchanges of polite inquiries of the kind later… He finally found another room for me and gave me a modest discount that later helped to pay for my awesome Belgian Waffle ❤
I had to walk some more to my actual hostel since they have two locations and I was staying at the central one. I was getting very annoyed and was so tired of walking that couldn’t even feel my feet anymore… fortunately I took a wrong turn and ended up in the most amazing, flaring square of all… the beauty was so overwhelming I felt in a dream:
There is one thing I will never forget about, actually two things: Belgian Chocolate and Strawberry-whipped cream Waffles. I think when I travel those calories don’t count. So I dig in and felt fantastic.
Let say that you can feel a tension when you arrive to Brussels. That was my feeling. Every city has its own vibe, like people do. And Brussels isn’t neutral.
A big multicultural melting pot: The center of the European Union and its Power, homeless people with their children sleeping under the rain, and a bunch of young tourists enjoying french fries and waffles in the main -magnificent- square.
On Sunday I visited Brugge. A very famous and touristy small city an hour away from Brussels. If you go there during the weekends you can get the weekend return ticket, which is a 50% discount (normally each way would be about 14 Euros, but with this promo you get a round trip for about 15 Euros). It is valid between Friday from 7pm to Sunday at 7PM. You can use it on the same day like I did as well. I traveled to Brugge Sunday morning and came back to Brussels that afternoon.
- How to get there? Trains from Brussels to Brugge leave at every .40 of the hour ( 8.40 – 9.40 – 10.40, etc.) during the weekends. Always check the schedule that is posted on the station. These info sheets on the walls are divided between blue and yellow (this ones are Weekend schedules). Then just go to your platform and jump on the train to your destination.
I have been wanting to visit this city for a long time. I have heard of its incredible beauty and medieval environment always too real to believe we are in 2017.
It was all true. Brugge is an amazing place, no wonder why its flooded with tourist every single day.
It is winter here in Europe so at least it wasn’t a summer crowd but there were a lot of people. I don’t blame them, I also wanted to desperately see this gorgeous town myself.
Check my pictures and post about this mysterious town here.
The Glory and the Misery
I named this post “The Two Brussels” because that is the feeling I got from this city. On one side there is the Capital of the European Union, the huge buildings, the golden glorious Central Square, the Waffles ❤ and fries. But if we take a closer, deeper look we will see homeless people (Unfortunately like everywhere else in the world), the Arab culture so alive and exponentially represented, the gypsies, the immigrants living on the streets, the fights on the train stations, the armed military forces all over town, the dirt.
*Let me be clear and say I saw this in most of the cities I’ve been, but for some reason here it felt all that more palpable, more crude and real.
Either way, I love both Brussels equally. And both made a huge impact on me.
Don’t miss this gem.