Sometimes I feel guilty for giving myself a break. I’m not alone in that, right? I used to beat myself up for having a lazy day. Always thinking that the busier I am, the better. Unfortunately, we all know that’s not true and it resulted in me getting massively run down and anxious. So I decided to take a little trip to encourage myself to relax!
Anyways, why Brussels? Mainly because it only takes 2 hours from London on the Eurostar, and naturally I had heard good things about the chocolate!
I travelled on a Monday which had a really positive impact on the cost of my train, so try and head during the if you can. Also, there’s a discount for under 25s! With all this said, tickets start at £29.00 each way. Cheaper than visiting other parts of the UK, which is madness! I arrived in Brussels fairly early, and got to the Mercure Hotel way before check-in time, but luckily they had my room ready. Some of the reviews of the hotel mentioned that it’s in a rough area, but I chose it because it was equi-distant between the station and the center of town. I’m happy that I wasn’t scared away by the reviews, because the area is no different to parts of London. I also ended up being given an absolutely huge room, think Macualy in Home Alone 2.
Once I had finished running around my hotel room in disbelief, I spent the day wandering around the city. Taking in its amazing architecture, quirky street art and yes, chocolate. I ate a LOT, of chocolate.
I’m a big believer of having a day without a schedule, because some of the things worth seeing aren’t mentioned in the guide books. So after exploring for hours, I ended up following my nose to an amazing seafood restaurant. 3 courses later and the weather on the turn for the worst, I headed back to the hotel with a bottle of wine to enjoy in the HUGE bathtub. For the first time in a while, I didn’t feel bad for relaxing.
The next morning, it was up early to make the most of the day before an evening train. The hotel don’t skimp on the all you can eat breakfast, so naturally I absolutely demolished it. To keep with the ongoing theme of the trip, of course.
I booked a cycle tour with Groovy Cycle Tours, which I highly recommend. Cycle tours are a fab way of getting to see the city quickly, in a short space of time. Our tour guide took a small group of us for 2 hours and she was really helpful in showing us the REAL Brussels. We visited the EU, the Palace of Justice and various markets and neighbourhoods around the city before stopping for a beer half way. We definitely needed it by then, those hills are brutal! Because there was such a small group of us, we were able to visit more places than usual. One being the world famous Frederic Blondeel Chocolatier. The hot chocolate is liquid heaven, my mouth waters just thinking about it.
After browsing the local shops and having my FIRST EVER waffle, it was time to head back to London. I was sad to leave, but it was amazing to notice how much better I felt after giving myself a couple of days to reset and return with a fresh energy. So I’m going to leave you with the quote that inspired the trip in the first place, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup‘.
Yana x x x