on the road: brussels

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we’ve been back from our trip for a couple weeks now and life has kind of gotten in the way of me being able to weed through all my photos! don’t, for a second, think that discounts how amazing our trip was.
josh and i flew in and out of brussels (found cheap tickets via kayak buzz), so we were able to enjoy the city twice. it should be known that when josh and i travel, we like to have a balance between all the super touristy activities and just simply living the life of whatever city we’re in.
we arrived into brussels fairly early tuesday morning. this meant two things: our hotel room wasn’t ready (totally expected) and NOTHING was open. since we really hadn’t eaten (airline food FTL: for the loss), we had two things on our mind: euros and lunch. despite what some will tell you, the best (and only for us) way to get euros when traveling abroad is by simply going to an ATM. josh’s bank even provided him with a list of ATMs where he’d get the foreign transaction fee reimbursed (usually somewhere between €4-8, which adds up). we stashed our bags at the pantone hotel and off we went. euros, espressos (for josh) and two jamon e fromage baguettes were procured and after, we proceeded to pass out. cold. josh gave me 45 minutes to sleep. no more. needless to say, he was NOT my favorite person when he MADE me get up. i do, however, owe my fairly jet-lag free transition to him. back out we went to explore.
getting lost once, we made our way to the museum of the royal arts. something i wasn’t told (probably because i’ve never personally met anyone else who’s been to brussels) was how impossible it was to get from point A to point B. it’s obviously a very old city where most streets are 20 meters long and suddenly stop, making route very hard to follow. anyway, we perused the museum, saw my favorite painting (death a marat, by david), walked through the grand place, ate mussels, stopped for chocolate (holy cow. belgians know what they’re talking about. except, don’t ever try 100% cocoa. seriously, take my word for it.), sat at a neighborhood bar by our hotel (it was in a fairly residential area) and proceeded to sleepwalk home. swell night, indeed.
we flew home from brussels, so fast forward two weeks and we found ourselves back in the home of NATO (did you know that?). we had been traveling nonstop for nearly 2 weeks by this point and were exhausted by our nearly 6 hour train journey (cooking at speeds of up to 260 km/h!) from munich, so we went out for more mussels (what?) and crashed early. the next day (which we had deemed as our shopping day) was sunday and wouldn’t you know it? everything was closed. crap. how many espressos, waffles and beers can one consume in one day? answer: when it’s meghan’s birthday? a lot. yes, we were in brussels, on my 28th birthday, and no one wanted to celebrate.
we could have gone and done something touristy, but at this point we were toured out. we walked down to le mannequin pis (not sure what i was expecting, but i was disappointed. it was tiny!), stopped in their greek town…read: killed time. lots of it. stopping for a stella (it was as delicious as i imagined) on the way, we ate dinner at kabuki, a sushi restaurant recommended by our concierge. you had the option of sitting at the counter and doing conveyor sushi for a flat fee. we were so in. it was absolutely the 2nd best sushi i had ever had. i’m still thinking about it.
our night was fairly tame, as we had to boot, scoot and boogey back to the mainland the next morning.
my overall opinions of brussels:
favorite part of the city: i loved that it was french speaking. it had the romance of paris without the heavy tourist traffic (and high prices). oh and you can’t discount the beer.
favorite beer: duvel
least favorite part: walking anywhere was a nightmare (though their public transit was really great).
would i return: not sure. possibly. if someone asked me, i wouldn’t say “no.” i mean, who do you think i am?
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resources:
hotel: pantone hotel (rating: 3 out of 5 stars) & le meridien (4 stars) // mussels: la bergerie (3 stars) & chez léon (2 stars) // sushi: kabuki (5 stars)

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this is just the highlight reel. if you’d like to browse the rest of my album, detour right here.

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