On board a train, it was Monday when we arrived at Brussels. My first tip in travel to Brussels, if you think of going to Brussels, tourists spot are not available during Mondays. This was the most awaited 4-days trip to Brussels of my family, which means my husband and son. We just finished our stay in Amsterdam when we decided to visit Brussels. At Marriott Hotel, we were accommodated in a junior suite which was still uptight for 3 persons. Imagine a king size bed and a sleeper. The moment sofa bed was used, there were little space left for moving around, we could hardly find walking space. The place was standard and nice however, there was not much space for the three of us. It was a good thing to know that the hotel we checked in was located near Grand Place. This place was like a landmark in Brussels.
Although the place made me sad reminding me of the year 1970’s in New York City where there were alcoholics and addicts in the street with women asking for money while carrying their babies. Seemingly, sad thoughts crept through my thoughts but any negative but unexpected moments were not enough to ruin the travelling mode of my family. I believed that there will still be more in stored for us all. Here are the things we have shared together during this unforgettable first travel.
Counted as Day 1 with such a melancholic moment, but we went to Brussels for some excitement so, we have to get more focused on the happy moments of my family in this awesome place. The first idea was to go to the Grand Palace by walking. Since the other sights are closed then, we made ourselves contented by walking to the Grand Place. After which, we took a ride to Atomium where we only posed for pictorials. The last destination for our first tour around areas of Brussels was at a Chocolate Factory, Zabaar. There were chocolate made in front of us and their gift shop were shown. The best part was to taste sample of their chocolate. We saw the Manneken-Pis, a statue near the Grand Place. Restaurants where all around offering their varieties and we settled in a mediocre food offer.
For my family’s second day, waking up early was a sign of our excitement and not to waste a single minute of opportunity to see the sights. At about 9:00 we were all set to start with Parliamentarian, a modern museum with hi-tech interactive kid activities for free. Wondering in this site took us more than 2 hours simply enjoying the playful atmosphere of the place. Then, visiting Palais Coudenberg was the next destination which is an archaeological site from an underground. Another museum we entered was for Musical Instruments which I could term as my magically favourite museum because of the music that can bring you to wonderland… After listening to soothing music, we proceeded to see Comic-Strip Art in Belgian Centre. Our busy day concluded at ‘t Kelderke, a restaurant where we had a delicious dinner.
On the next day, my family and I had a stop at Horta Museum but it was still closed until 2:00 so we proceeded instead to Palais Royal. It was a wonderful sight to see an extraordinary chandeliers made up of beetles. Personally, I was so amazed thinking whether I was really seeing real beetles or wondering how it was made so attractively. We stayed there for couple of minutes. My family and I decided to find a new place which we could explore again and gain experience as beautiful as their tourist spots. Before moving on, we walked around first. By walking, we could see a larger glimpse of Brussels. Then there will be more time to spend for other sights. Petit Sablon is among the places we came across with when we were strolling.
We visited Musee de la Ville De Bruxelles. There were displays of Manneken-Pis costumes and its stories all in a film which we enjoyed looking into. The Town Hall was our next stop and we were lucky to contract a guided tour offered by 3:00. After the guided tour, we decided that Mini Europe was our next destination running after its closing time which is 8:00. When we get there, the place was not crowded at all. The time we chose to get to Mini-Europe was simply great.
At that time, we gladly took the opportunity in taking pictures of the place together with memorable poses of the family were our happy moments at that time. The entire day was really concluded with fabulous dinner in a diner called Chez Leon offering Mussels. There specialty was this dish in an escargot sauce. Third day at Brussels was another busy day it may sound tiresome but with totally different experiences in every stop, we wished there were more to experience if only many sights were open.
On the fourth day, we planned to go to Ghent as early as possible still hoping that even if that was our last day of trip, we could still manage to squeeze in more sights to see. For this trip, we least expected that to get there by boarding a local train which would normally be slower but we had no choice but to take the train which took us 1 ½ hours to get to Ghent. Normally, it will only take about 30mins travel time to reach there. Arriving at Ghent, a bus took us to The Castle of the Counts or Gravensteen. This was called torture castle. Ghent was a very nostalgic place when it displayed their place’s life way back in 20th century.
There was not translation of the name of the rooms but everything was fine. As we were roaming around the rooms, touching things on that place were not prohibited. Looking at all those things were so melancholic. It seemed like being brought back to the time it belonged. We had half a day of stroll when our hungry stomach brought us to Aljin Hous or Het Huis van Aljin. After lunch, we toured via Canal Ride in order to see Ghent. There was a guide in the boat but his communication was difficult to understand. Nevertheless, we eased out ourselves by enjoying the boat trip which was totally pleasant. Wondering around Ghent, we hoped to see the Mystic Lamb at St. Bravo’s Cathedral.
The four days stay in Brussels was not enough to see all the wonderful sights there. Maybe there should be eight to ten days in order to completely tour around Brussels and get contented with your stay there. If I would be given a chance to visit Brussels again, the 4 to 5 days will be good to move around Brussels alones. In a very short stay at Brussels, I missed seeing other Museums like Horta Museum. We should have gone to see Musee Magritte and St Michael Cathedral. There were really many other sights which time did not permit us to visit. Another more days for side trips in places like Ghent. Never fail to visit Antwerp and the Waterloo. It will also be wise to remember that sights are closed during Mondays. Days to sight-seeing can be saved if you will not be wasting 1 day with a Monday arrival to Brussels. That was really so unfortunate since we were not able to maximize our 4-days visit. The disadvantage also was there were times when no guided tours were available who can assist in choosing routes or vehicles to get to your destination the soonest possible time.
I am not saying that the trip was not awesome. Brussels is a perfect destination for families wishing to bond together. The visit there also yielded learning of historic past that guided us through the civilization and technologies the world is experiencing nowadays. It is but wonderful to recognize such places who were able to preserve remnants of their past which simply means acknowledging the vital role played by the people, culture and their ideals way back their respective eras.