My visit to Brussels (in 1999)
In January 1999 (14 years ago), I had the benefit of travelling to Brussels, London and Ireland with my then fiancee. This was the best thing that ever came out of that relationship (but that’s another post!).
Whether it was the fact that the main language in Brussels is French or the fact that I was mainly exploring the city by myself, I fell in love with Belgium and its capital. I do not remember flying into this city, but I do remember getting a train from the airport to the main center of Brussels. The train ride itself was very memorable with a distinct European feel, having curtains on the windows and tables between passenger couches. I also remember the fact that I had bought the wrong type of ticket for this train and received a warning from the ticket inspector, but was let off from the very good-looking man.
The train also runs between houses, whereby you can look into the backyards of nearby homes. Once at Brussels, I made my way to the hotel, before heading out for dinner with the fiancée and his friends. There are three main things that Brussels is known for; coffee, beer and chocolates! The beer sizes are beyond belief and nothing I had ever experienced before. The same can be said for the coffee. It was like I was being given a bowl of coffee, rather than a cup!
As it was January, it was very cold, but I was feeling very warm after my delicious meal, a few beverages and of course my bowl of coffee. I can not remember getting back to the hotel, however during my drunken stupor, I apparently booked myself in for a tour of the city, along with a wake up call!
The phone in my room rudely awoke me from my comatose sleep the next morning, and after french-kissing the morning, I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and stumbled down to reception where the tour bus was waiting for me. The sights and history of Brussels definitely got me out of my hang-over state as we explored the Royal Palace, the Atomium, the Manneken Pis (depicting a young boy urinating) and the Cinquanternaire triumphal arch.
The architecture, the cobble-stoned courtyards, the roads whereby people travel at exceeding speeds and the fact that Brussels is considered the head of the European Union made me fall in love with its charming ways. It is by far the most favourite city I have ever travelled to and I would have no hesitation in travelling there all over again. This is followed closely by Amman in Jordan (which I am hoping I will be able to take my hubster to in August).
I wonder how it will compare to Hamburg in Germany and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Time will only tell!
EDIT: Just found out we will not be travelling to Hamburg now 😦