My brother and I had the opportunity to spend Halloween weekend in Belgium – we had a blast!
We got a hotel in Brussels (we stayed at Thon Hotel- I recommend this place!) and the first day we walked all over the city. Corey studies architecture, so we checked out places like Arcade du Cinquantenaire, St. Gudule Church, the Royal Palace, King’s House, Town Hall and a bunch of statues and structures. Among the many statues, we saw Manneken-Pis. I have to say – I did not expect it to be so small.
We walked around Brussels for the rest of the day exploring the city and getting lost in the streets. We came across many chocolate shops (ladies- if you love chocolate, Belgium is the place for you) and we came across a TON of beer stores (guys- if you love beer, Belgium is the place for you). Belgium knows what they’re doing when it comes to their chocolate and beer. Some stores had one side devoted to chocolate and the other side devoted to beer, “Am I in Heaven?” came to mind a couple of times. What’s cool about Belgium is that they have 1,600 of their own beer and each and every beer gets their own glass. So when you’re in a bar/restaurant and you order a specific beer, you’ll get the beer in a glass that was specifically made for that beer. Why doesn’t every other country do this?!
We had been told that Brussels can be seen in one day, and that’s very true! It was a great day of sightseeing but we had seen almost all of what Brussels has to offer. So later that night (Halloween night) Corey and I went to go visit a friend in Leuven. Leuven is a very student-based town. If you’re young and into the party/bar scene then Leuven should be on your travel list. This city has a whole square of 36 bars in a row, my friend told me it’s considered the longest bar in Europe! One of these bars had a selection of 2,000 beers – IMAGINE how many glasses they have for each beer?! Halloween is just becoming a trend in Europe, so not many people were dressed up, but Leuven is BEAUTIFUL at night, so there was no other place I wanted to be. When we were walking to the bars, we turned the corner and Leuven’s Town Hall appeared and I was in awe. I had never seen a building so architecturally beautiful and full of detail. I only had the opportunity to see Leuven at night, but I definitely want to go back one weekend during the day.
The next day was unforgettable! We took an hour-long train from Brussels to Bruges to explore the northern side of Belgium. The only way to describe this city is cute as f*ck. I definitely recommend this place to any couple who’s looking for a romantic get-a-way. There’s horse and carriage rides all through the old-fashioned cobblestoned city, there’s dozens of swans hanging out by the canal, there’s violin players filling the streets with their relaxing tunes, and so much more. There’s only one brewery left in Bruges, called De Halve Brewery, that gives 45 minute tours in different languages of the entire brewery. This tour tells you all about how their beer is made, it informs you of the different grains, wheats, and formula (which is apparently very healthy), it takes you to the roof of the brewery that overlooks the entire Bruges city, and then it ends with a free De Halve beer. It was so worth it – and very informing! All for 7.50euro, who can beat that? Bruges also offers boat rides on the canal where a tour guide shows you all the historical places that reside in the city. Not to mention the scenery is beautiful. There’s even a lab, named Felix, that overlooks the canal from his window. This stunning city makes you feel like you’re in a movie.
Corey and I decided that a weekend in Belgium was a perfect amount of time to see what we wanted to see. The cities are small enough to see in one day, well Bruges and Brussels are anyway. I would go back to see Leuven during the day and other cities in Belgium, like Antwerp or Ghent. But for now I’m very satisfied with my relaxing weekend in Belgium!