Saturday, 24 May 2014

Brussels Belgium ........ My First Ever Solo Travel

As I turned another year older and wiser. I challenge myself to go on and try solo travelling, moving out to my comfort zone. I'm setting foot to Brussels a strange place on my own, with different language I can't speak, different cultures and belief to mine. As I was booking my Eurostar train ticket I got mixed emotions, feeling excited coz I'am fulfiling my wanderlust cravings but on the other hand I'm thinking will I gonna make this first travel on my own, but on second thought what the heck this is it I will traverse the world and treasure happy memories and capture beautiful pictures to treasure for life. Let the adventure of a lifetime begin I would say . They say there's a difference between being alive and living. Right now I'm living the life I wanted to be, to see the world's wonder and its natures beauty.

May 19 Monday
The day has come and there's no turning back. I took the Metro from Wembley to St Pancras to catch the Eurostar, I reached the station plenty of time before the check-in, it was a quick and easy just scan my ticket and off I went through the French Police Passport Control and waited another 30 minutes to the lounge area for boarding, I sat by the sofa near one of the monitors so I can check what gate to board and on the background it's French advisory hmmm its good time to brush up my non existent French vocabulary aside from oui, merci, and bonjour  lol  , it's 12:58 pm when we set off and just over 2 hours journey passing Calais, Paris, Lille and final stop Brussels. There was a delay so we arrived in Brussels Midi Station about 4:30 pm. After I collected my luggage I went straight to a bar called La Computir due midi just in front of the Midi station for a quick drink while waiting for Leonardo (my host in Brussels ) to come and pick me up. As soon as I sat down there are group of musician started to play the harp, guitar and other instrument looks like welcoming me to Brussels. As soon as Leonardo arrived we took a metro to his place to drop my luggage and to rest for a bit. His a very friendly guy, giving me some tips where to go and what to see. As soon as I gather my bearings I went out for a stroll to Grand Place, along the way I went to see the Manekin Pis then continued my walk and I stumble to a Hard rock cafe and decided to a nice drink, I ordered Fruitifalooza cocktail it was a refreshing drink well earned after a nice  journey. Then just around the corner its the Grand Place Square, took lots of photos and sat on the corner to appreciate the grandeur building in front of me with a Belgian waffle at hand what else could I asked for its just perfect.

Manekin Pi's

Hotel de Ville

Grand Place / Grote Markt

Maison des Brassuer Building 

Grote Markt Brussels or well known the Grand Place is a remarkably a big square sourounded by public and private building, dating back the 17th century. The well preserved architectural building that provides a vivid illustration of social and cultural life of Brussels in the past. It is one among the listed in UNESCO World Heritage. 

The  Royal Galleries
St Hubert Building

The Everard's Monument

Famous Belgian waffles

May 20 Tuesday
Second day in Brussels I booked myself to go for a walking tour, meeting place was in the Grand Place, on my way from my B&B I bought drinks and snacks to keep me going through the tour. As soon as I arrived at the Hotel de Ville I showed my printed ticket from Viator and they've given me  a ticket tab  to keep. The tour starts at 11 am and lasted for 3 hours. Peter his from Liverpool, his a very good  tour guide and very informative. We went through the main tourist area it was exceptional, I highly recommend this activity.He went through the all buildings in the Grand Place and it's significance in the history, went through an alley where a famous Tintin Mural arts, then through the Mannekin Pis, passed through the gay area. Then we stop for 15 minutes drink in a bar, its a good excuse for me to try some Belgian beers. I'm not a beer drinker I'm more of a Cider drinker  but I did my research and they do fruit flavoured beers so I did try the Gueuze beer  its sometimes regards as a champagne beer, its very light and refreshing I did like it, there are also called Limbic beers I'll try it on my next bar stop,it has different fruit flavours too. Then we continue to the Art Galleries, Kings Palace, and MIM. Through out the walk I took hundreds of photos to upload on my Facebook page. After the tour went back to my room and rested for abit, actually  I had a quick nap and woken up refresh.
In the evening went out again and head off to Sablon Area, nice boutique's and bars along the street, I continued my walk up hill and reached the Place de Justice a good walk and the view was beautiful, the highest point its over looking around Brussels City. After an hour or so enjoying the view I head back to my place but I stumble on a frites corner shop so then I stopped and tried it, I've read about it that's its famous in Belgium. Nothing special about it just fries with lots mayonnaise and ketchup but at least I tried the famous Belgian frites.

Bruxelles Quartier Royal
Cathedrale St Michel

Bruxelles Place de la Justice

Musical Instrument Museum 

Belgian Frites

May 21 Wednesday, my third day in Brussels and I planned to do a Day trip in Bruges. Its a separate blog click here: Bruges

May 22 Thursday its my forth day I went to Antwerp to celebrate my birthday, click here for the blog: Antwerp                     ( )

May 23 Friday
Its my last day in  Brussels, I'm taking it easy today after last night beers and shots at the Delirium Village, no hangover but I'm too lazy to get up it was about 1pm when I decided to get up. I had a quick shower and lunch then decided to go for a slow rate pace wander. First I went to Magdalene Church then  went to the  rooftop  of   MIM
(National Instrument Museum ) at the Cafeteria du MIM for a drink of my favourite Kriek, the view was magnificent its over looking Brussels City, good place to hangout with friends or just for a cappuccino  or nice cold kriek. After a nice drink I went around for Visita Iglesia to different Churches and Chapels around Brussels. Sablon-Notre-Dame church, a flamboyant Gothic masterpiece.  I didn't realise that this country is a Catholic.

In the evening I decided to go for my last evening walk around Brussels. I went around to look for souvenirs I found fridge magnets and teaspoons my all time favourite collection and of course Belgian chocolates for my friends. Then I passed by the Grand Place for the last time and there's a free Jazz Marathon Festival starts from May 23-25, its a good evening and nice crowd. I found a chair by the table next to an old couple from Liverpool what a coincidence, was chatting to them they were here again last year to see the jazz festival and they loved it. I had Kriek beer and swaying along with other people with the lovely jazz music. There are different band performing and  the program finished at about 11pm, after that I decided to head home for an early night to be ready and refresh for an early morning start.

Photo essay of my last day in Brussels.

May 24 Saturday
Saturday time to go back to UK. My alarm woke me up at 6:10am, I was ready and out by 7am my Eurostar is departing at 8:52 am. I had a nice walk towards Bruxelle Gare du Midi ( Eurostar and train station ) its about 15 minutes walk and along the way I stopped by at the bakery Votre Artisan du Gout and bought some nicely fresh chocolate croissant and cream bread. I reached the station early so I had plenty of time for a quick hot chocolate hmmm with mountain of fresh cream. The gates opened at 7:52 and we waited for another 30 minutes before boarding. The train starts moving at 8:50am. Listening to the Script keeps me company through out the train journey. We arrived in St Pancras Station about 10am I went straight to the tube station going to Victoria station I bought a single trip cost £4.90, its was too early to go to the Coach station so I hangout at the nearby Nero Cafe I spoted a table near the main door and there's and old couple there smiled at me and I asked them politely if they can looked after my luggage while I go to the toilet then joined the couple and started chatting to them they had a cruise around UK and they are from Scotland lovely couple. I'm enjoying a Pineapple Strawberry Milkshake and double chocolate muffin  while I'm writing the end of my Belgian adventure.

My first ever solo travel was a success , I did love my travel, roaming around to a new place on my own and meeting interesting people along my way. I hope more to come while waiting for my lifetime travel buddy, that I might meet along the way who knows, but for the meantime my travelling buddy bear will do just fine.

I learned from my First Solo Travelling is getting away from my tiny bubbles and taking chances while experiencing great things outside my comfort zone. Best decision I ever made. These is the only start of my traversing the World Adventure.

Special thanks to Leonardo, a great week spent in his beautiful centrally located place, a place I call it home for my fabulous week in Brussels.

My funky room & comfy king size bed

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