Hi friends! This blog will be all about Belgium and what I did during my time there! Feel free to check out (#mairainBE) for pictures taken in Belgium! I’m still uploading, so continue to check every week! The following blogs will be about Germany, France, and Ireland (respectively) so stay tuned!
We decided to make Belgium our first stop in the #mairainEurope trip because our wonderful friend Maggie was studying/working/living there! Before I even board the plane, I knew this trip was going to be super interesting because I had a little issue at the airport lol let me tell you all about it.
So I arrive to the airport a couple of hours before my flight and I go to the kiosk at American Airlines to check in/print out my boarding pass but for some reason the computer was having issues pulling up my information. So I decide to go wait in line to talk to a person, and at this point the line is pretty long (about 10 people in front of me). So I wait, and I wait, and I wait…I think I waited for about 40 minutes lol. Finally, it’s my turn and I give my info to the representative and HE CAN’T FIND MY INFORMATION. He then asked me where I was flying to, and I told him I was flying to London and then Brussels. He gives me a look almost as if to say ‘are you serious’ lol and then he asks me ‘are you sure you’re flying with American Airlines’ lol. I look at him and then instantly remember reading on my email that my flight was through American Airlines but it was going to be operated by British Airways. It was really awkward as we both realize that I’ve been standing in the wrong line for almost an hour, and then we look at each other and I tell him ‘am I supposed to go to British Airways lol’. Luckily I got there super early so it wasn’t a huge problem, just a waste of my time!! LOL
Anyway, we board the plane and it was super cool. There was a ton of movies available, we got a blanket, pillow, toothbrush, headphones, basically anything you could ever need on an 8 hour flight! I watched Ted 2 (lol) and some Amy Schumer stand up, and then knocked out but kept waking up so it wasn’t a great night of sleeping lol.
10 hours later (London to Brussels was about 2 hours), we finally arrive to Brussels, Belgium and we are greeted by Maggie and David!!! It was so good to see them, even though we were super exhausted and ready to sleep lol.
That first night we took it super easy. We just went to dinner then straight to bed lol. I’ll be posting all of the food we ate during our time in Europe in the Traveling LBL as well as on instagram, under #mairatravelfood so keep a look out for that.
We had dinner at an Italian pizza place in Belgium called Mama Roma and of course we had to start drinking the famous Belgian beer! The beer was delicious, we all got different beer and had a chance to try a variety. At dinner, I was able to try the following beers: La Chouffe, Chimay Peres Trappistes, and Westvleteren Trappist. I’ll wait to post pictures of all of the beer that we drank so keep a lookout for that under #mairatraveldrinks. The pizza was delicious and it was super cool to order there because they use scissors to cut the pizza as big or as small as you’d like! We also had a pastry there with nutella, powdered sugar, and Belgian chocolate. IT WAS HEAVEN. When I add pictures of the food and the beer to the Traveling LBL, I will make sure to be more detailed 🙂 After dinner, we went right to bed because we were exhausted lol
The next morning we woke up early-ish, and headed to the train station to make our way to Ghent! Ghent was a BEAUTIFUL city. This was my first introduction to Belgium. We walked around, saw some Christmas Markets (which were awesome), drank some hot wine (which is delicious and super popular), and then checked out some really beautiful cathedrals. Cathedrals are my thing now, as Maggie’s dad observed lol. If you don’t know what I’m talking about…check out my facebook profile pictures from my time in Europe lol. All of the cathedrals that we walked into were just ridiculously detailed and beautiful. A lot of time was obviously taken when constructing and decorating the interiors. Some of them were even gilded in gold, it was crazy! After we checked out a few cathedrals, we kept walking and exploring Ghent and made it to a castle!!! The castle we explored was Gravensteen, it was super cool to actually be in a real life castle. I felt like I was in a Game of Thrones episode lol. There was a ton of super cool history to learn about inside the castle plus it was a beautiful structure. In the castle, is where I learned that there are stairs in every building and I also learned that I’m not as in shape as I thought. I was climbing up four flights of stairs in the castle and I got winded lol. I seriously need to step my game up. After the castle, we kept exploring….mostly just looking for a place to eat because we were starving lol. We finally ended up at Brasserie Chagall. Of course we had more beer here just because restaurants in Europe don’t really serve tap water, and when you order water they give you bottled water and it’s more expensive than alcohol lol. I had some braised beef Flemish style with some frites (fries), and belgian chocolate mousse. At lunch, I was able to try the following beers: Bruge Zot and Mystic (a super sweet beer). The beer was great and the food was delicious. Just wait for the pictures y’all lol. After dinner, we left the city of Ghent and took a train to the city of Brugge. We exploring the city and ended up at a HUGE Christmas Market. This Christmas Market was so huge, that they even had a skating rink lol. And if you know me, you know that OF COURSE I HAD TO SKATE. It was super fun!! They were playing Christmas classics like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, but in French! It was so much fun and I didn’t fall lol. Pictures and videos will be posted in the weeks to come 🙂 After the Christmas Market we decided to head to Brussels and stop at the Grand-Place which is the center of the city and where a lot of festivities happen. The entire Grand-Place was lit up in Christmas lights (people in Europe seriously love Christmas lol) and it was just super cool to see. I thought after the Grand-Place, we would head home and go to bed but you don’t go to bed early in Europe lol. We met up with a new friend and headed to Delirium Village which is where all the bars are and headed to Delirium Cafe which is an awesome bar with SO MUCH BEER on tap. It was great. I tried a ton of beer and was only able to take pictures of a few because I was too excited to try all the beer lol. Our new friend was from Belgium and he knew all of the best beers (which all happened to coincidentally be the ones with the highest alcohol content…I’m talking 14, 15 % lol). After Delirium Cafe, we went to go check out the famous Belgian peeing boy which was interesting lol and then made it to the 2nd bar…I guess we were trying to really party lol. We ended up at Le Poechenellekelder and there we kept on drinking. I tried the following beers: Oude Gueuze Tilquin à l’Ancienne, Malheur 12 degrees, Pauwel Kwak, plus a few others. This last beer (pauwel kwak) was my favorite to drink because it comes with a glass that looks like a test tube and it was just fun to drink haha. It was a great night of exploring Belgium, drinking great beer, and hanging with friends lol. I have super fun stories that I won’t share here, so just make sure to ask me in person….one of the best quotes of the night was ‘wow he sounds so mean’ lol.
The next day, I woke up feeling super great…I didn’t feel hungover at all even though all of the beer that I drank was super high in alcohol content lol. And this was good because it was New Year’s Eve and the party hadn’t even really begun! David and Maggie made us breakfast (they are seriously the best hosts ever, thanks so much you two you are both amazing). Maggie took us to a park near her apartment that she said reminded her of Central Park in NY which made me want to go to NY even more than I already do lol. We then started heading towards the center of the city to explore some more. We checked out some more Christmas Markets and I was able to cross off a bucket list item: EAT A BELGIAN WAFFLE IN BELGIUM! It was delicious!!! I think I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t really think Belgian waffles would be that much different than the ‘belgian waffles’ that can be found in the states, and wow was I wrong. Like ridiculously wrong. We got belgian waffles from ‘the best waffle place in brussels’ according to Maggie and David. We got waffles made from speculoos which I learned is kind of like a gingerbread shortbread cookie so right away there was a huge difference from the waffles I’ve had in the states. Belgian waffles in Belgium are more of a dessert and not really a breakfast food. The belgian waffle I had was topped with nutella and fresh whipped cream and it was heaven in my mouth. It tasted more like a cake than a waffle. It was so good, that we went back and got more before we left Belgium haha. We then continued exploring the Christmas Market, this one was huge! There was even fair rides and a ferris wheel. I bought a bunch of souvenirs here. We did a lot of shopping this day and then went back to Maggie and David’s neighborhood for dinner. We decided to switch it up and have the ‘best Indian food in brussels’ according to our wonderful hosts lol. The place was called ‘Restaurant TASTE OF RAAJ, Cuisine Nepalaise & Indienne’. And they were not wrong, it was delicious! We had dinner and then went back home to take a 2 hour nap because we were exhausted and we still had some New Year’s Eve festivities to do lol. We had originally planned to go to the city center (the Grand-Place) and celebrate NYE there because the city of Brussels had planned a ton of NYE festivities, there was going to be a huge countdown and fireworks and tons of other fun stuff….but unfortunately due to the terror level in the country everything was cancelled. However, that didn’t stop us from celebrating. We decided to keep it casual and just head to a bar to celebrate there. Little did we know that we had chosen the BEST place to celebrate NYE lol. We ended up at an Irish Bar called Michael Collins (at the time we had no idea who Michael Collins was but after being in Ireland, we learned all about him. Details will be shown in the Ireland Adventures blog in a few weeks!). Anyway, we ended up at Michael Collins and right away we started drinking. The only beer that I took a picture of was one called Vedett Extra Blon. It was really good, all the beer in Belgium was delicious lol. It was a very casual NYE, just hanging with friends. My favorite part about that bar was that they played really good music and I’m talking ALL kinds of music! They had Spanish, English, Irish, French music! All kinds, it was fantastic. A few minutes before midnight, we all went around and talked about our favorite parts of 2015 and for me it was really hard to narrow down my ‘faves’ just because 2015 was a fantastic year for me. I completed a ton of bucket list items, made some fantastic new friends, traveled to more states in the USA, and finally traveled to Europe! How could it get any better?! All in all, it was a great year and it was a great NYE celebration 🙂
After a great NYE, we all went to bed and then drove to Germany! But this blog isn’t about Germany…it’s about Belgium!Adventures in Germany blog will be uploaded next week! After Germany, we took a bus to France, but again this blog isn’t about France…it’s about Belgium. After France, we flew to Ireland…but again…you should see a pattern…this blog isn’t about Ireland, it’s about Belgium 😉
Anyway, after Ireland we flew back to Belgium! So let’s continue with the stories of my adventures in Belgium! We flew back to Belgium in the morning, made our way back to Maggie and David’s apartment and took a nap lol. When we woke up, it was lunch time so we headed out to look for some lunch! We walked to a place called ‘Cafe Belga’ and I had the croque-monsieur and some homemade iced tea (by this point in the vacation, I was tired of alcohol lol). It was really good! We also had a chocolate tart.
After that, we just kept walking and exploring and discovered a beautiful church, with a beautiful backyard full of really cool looking trees and stairs. We then took another nap (vacationing is exhausting), and then started getting ready for the evening because it was MAGGIE’S BIRTHDAY!! To celebrate Maggie’s birthday we started off with dinner at a Spanish restaurant/bar where I had my first experience with tinto de verano! Tinto de verano is Spanish for ‘tint of summer’ and it’s basically half red wine and half Sprite. It is my new favorite drink 🙂 We also had Cortina sidra natural! After dinner, we headed over to Floris Absinthe Bar and we each had 1 absinthe shot with the name Hapsburg Traditional 72,5% lol. I had never taken absinthe before but I had heard that it was a very strong liquor that caused hallucinations lol. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get a hallucination, but it was a really good shot. We got a cube of sugar, set it on fire and then threw it onto the shot. It was really strong and burned a little but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be lol. All I learned that night was that if you take a shot of absinthe, everyone can smell it on your breath from miles away lol. I’ll be posting pictures and videos of how to take an absinthe shot in the coming weeks, so stay posted lol. I had more beer this night including BarBar and Saison Surfin, .It was a great night, defiinitely one for the books. I love Belgium.
The next day, we woke up and headed to the atomium!! A super cool structure built for the world’s fair way back when! It was super cool, a little nerdy but super cool lol. We then had to have a farewell Belgian waffle, and it was delicious. Then we headed to dinner and went shopping and then straight to bed because we had an early morning flight. All in all, I am so happy to have experienced Belgium first because I definitely fell in love with it and would totally recommend people to visit, especially if you love beer and chocolate. Goodbye Belgium, I will be back!!
I will be posting more pictures every Tuesday and Thursday on instagram and will be updating the Traveling LBL with more pictures every Thursday. Stay tuned! Hope this helps any of you who plan to travel to Europe!
Thanks for reading!
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