Hey y’all, welcome back to Cleverly Caroline. Today I’m going to be telling you all about my weekend in Brussels. My friend and sorority sister, Lily, is living in Brussels for the summer studying and interning. I was super excited when she asked me to come visit her because of course I wanted to see her, but I had also not been to a French-speaking country. In French class in middle and high school, my teachers constantly talked about how amazing French-speaking countries are and prepared us to travel to those parts of the world with travel vocabulary. I booked my train within an hour of Lily asking me to visit and a few days later I was on my way.
My train left London at 3 on Friday afternoon. I took the tube from my dorm to St Pancras International and then the Eurostar from London to Brussels. I arrived about an hour before departure and got through security and border patrol in under ten minutes. The terminal was very clean and quite similar to an airport but much more quiet, perfect to get ahead on my homework for the following week. The train boarded about twenty minutes prior to departure and we left the station about three minutes early. I was sitting at a table with four seats, however there was nobody sitting with me so I had plenty of space to spread out and keep working. The train went about 275 kilometers per hour so we sped through the English countryside and were in the tunnel between the UK and France in no time. In France, the train stopped shortly in Lille and then proceeded to Brussels. When I arrived, I was greeted by Lily, a bottle of rosé, and peaches. After a quick snack, we walked into downtown Brussels and began our adventure. We started at a cocktail bar in a medieval building, where we ate nachos and had cocktails. Lily then took me to the famous Peeing Boy statue, which had drawn a large crowd. From there we went to the main square, which is full of elegant, gilded buildings—and a lot of tourists.
We then got fries at Lily’s favorite fry stand and headed to Delirium Village to try one of the bar’s 3000 beers. After our last drink, we headed back to Lily’s apartment to sleep after a long day of travel and adventure.
We slept in on Saturday and had avocado toast at the apartment for breakfast. We spent the early afternoon shopping in a few of the adorable boutiques in Brussels, but didn’t end up buying anything.
After a bit of browsing, we headed to a Mexican-Japanese fusion restaurant for lunch. Neither of us were expecting the restaurant to be fusion, we thought it was just a sushi place, but we were pleasantly surprised. We peeked in a few more stores and took a few outfit pictures before heading back to Lily’s place to change since it was starting to rain.
We stayed at the apartment for a little bit before venturing back into the world. We went to a small bar which I could only explain as punkish and hipster, my dad would have loved it. After a beer, we went next door for some fondue, which I hadn’t had in years. We meandered a bit more before grabbing a waffle and finding ourselves at an experimental cocktail bar with a very knowledgeable bartender.
After sitting down and talking over a drink for a while, Lily and I headed back to her place to watch a movie. On the way, however, we stopped to watch the sunset over the city, which was stunning.
We woke up late again and went to a café for breakfast. I had a bagel with lox, unsurprisingly. The salmon was tasty but I didn’t love the other toppings they put on it.
We then stumbled upon an antique shop which we briefly explored. There were lots of animal heads and Christian paraphernalia, which I didn’t expect, however it was my first time in an antique store.
Next, we headed to pick up some macarons for dessert that night and went grocery shopping.
We did some homework at Lily’s apartment before making risotto for dinner and jamming to the Book of Mormon soundtrack. Lily then took me to the train station for my 8 PM train back to London.
I am really grateful I was able to visit Lily and see Belgium for the first time! We ate so much food, all of which was delicious, and explore some places in the city that even Lily hadn’t been to. I had fun speaking French in a French-speaking country for the first time and seeing, in person, the culture that I learned about in class for so many years.
Disclaimer: This post was originally published on Cleverly Caroline on June 13, 2019.