Life has been very busy of late with so many things going on left, right and centre, that when James suggested we book a trip way together I couldn’t think of anything better as a way to celebrate my birthday, Christmas and the end of my first term back studying. Christmas markets were the obvious choice, and after looking into the Eurostar and realising it was the same price and quicker for us to fly to Brussels from Gatwick we booked up!
After a night celebrating my birthday with perhaps one too many glasses of bubbles, we woke at the awfully early time of 4.30am to make it to Gatwick in time for our 7am flight. Once we landed in Brussels we made our way to drop off our bags at our hotel, the amazing Sofitel Europe. Once we arrived at the hotel we found out we were given a free upgrade and our first try of Belgian chocolates, as a treat because it was my birthday – amazing!
We didn’t really have much of a plan for our days away, and in very un-Emma like fashion, I hadn’t even done much research on restaurants or things to do! Instead we just went with the flow, and spent the morning wondering around the centre, getting our bearings and looking at all the Christmas markets. And of course, sampling some goodies along the way!
After wondering the markets and sampling mulled wine, waffles and hot dogs the rain got the better of us so we went in search of a bar, and stumbled across a brilliant one close to the markets. Monk seemed to answer everything James and I wanted from a Belgian bar: a huge beer menu, warmth, and plenty of locals. James and I made a deal to try no beer twice whilst away and whilst in Monk we tasted Duvel, Brussels beer project, Le Trappe Trappist and Omer. Not bad going for our first sitting I think!
Full of beer and warmed up, we decided to head over to a comic strip museum. Apparently Belgians love their comic strips, and the country is home to both Tintin and the invention of Smurfs! The museum wasn’t the most interesting, not taking us all that long to walk around, but I think if you liked graphic design or comics, you’d love it!
Later we headed back to the hotel, via yet more markets and enjoyed a huge tub of churros with melted chocolate watching people ice skate.
For dinner we decided to stay local to the hotel, and after a little googling decided to try a Thai restaurant. Unfortunately it was jam packed, so we headed to a quieter Vietnamese restaurant across the road, and enjoyed a delicious meal.
Bellies filled, we headed to a buzzing bar, 13 degrees, we’d passed earlier which turned out to be another great choice. Again, filled with locals I had the most delicious red wine, and James enjoyed a couple of Christmas beers, before we headed to bed for a well earned sleep!