Sometimes the decisions made on a whim happen to be the best one. To ring in the month of October, I made my first trip out of Toulouse since arriving. My destination was the city Brussels, the capital Belgium. I departed Toulouse on Saturday afternoon, after a busy morning of cleaning my studio and last minute packing. My expectations for this trip weren’t particularly high. I was meeting up my friend who is studying abroad in Madrid. She is also a University of Florida student. In truth, we choose this location because it was conveniently priced for both of us and obviously our shared love for food wouldn’t allow us to pass up a chance at real Belgium waffles, chocolate, and fries. I had a busy week and neither of us bothered to make an itinerary, even though we were only going to be there for a day and a half. However, we had the best time.
The ‘B’ in Belgium is for beautiful. The city of Brussels is bewitching. It is a spectacular mix of modern and ancient architecture. Its beauty is almost unreal. The gradients of some of the city’s older buildings look like it’s straight out of a painting.
We arrived in the city around five o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, so we only got to see a few landmarks before it was too dark to sight-see. Needless to say, our food exploration began pretty early. We ended up at the Waffle Factory. The location itself was nothing too spectacular. It was just a local waffle chain that served their waffles to go. We both ordered a Belgium waffle with dark chocolate and a cup of hot chocolate. We made friends with the cashier while we waited and asked for recommendations on what to see in the city. However, In less than ten minutes out waffles were ready. It was better than anything I could have probably prepared my taste buds for. It was crispy on the outside but so soft on the inside. Have you ever had a had a waffle melt in your mouth? Oh gosh, it is a beautiful experience!
We started our second day in Brussels the same way we ended the prior, with some delicious waffles. It is something you just have to experience more than once. This time from a local restaurant and topped with Chocolate and strawberries and paired with coffee. It would be our only full day in Belgium and we had a lot planned for the day. We would spend the morning touring the Grand Place Central of Belgium and then travel to Bruges and spend the afternoon there.
Grand Place Central was so breathtaking. If you are there, you simply cannot miss seeing it. Afterwards, we headed to the train station. Bruge was an almost an away by train. However, round-trip tickets for us were only around 12 Euros at the student rate. It was a smooth ride there, we barely felt the train moving. Bruge is hailed by locals and tourists alike as the Venice of the north because it hosts similar canal tours.
Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was raining and cold. However, we didn’t allow that to deter us. We took a bus to the center of Bruges instead if walking and proceeded to buy umbrellas at a local grocery store where were seeking shelter from the rain. Just like that, we were in our way. Two girls, too caught up in seeking adventure to be bothered by the rain. We weren’t even bothered by the stares we got as we struggled to take pictures in the center of Bruges while holding our umbrellas.
However, it wasn’t very long before we were too hungry to continue in such high spirits. We cozied up to pasta dishes close to the city center. We took pleasure in the fact the waiter left us unbothered for a good thirty minutes after we finished eating. Nevertheless, there was much to see still and with our hearts and bellies full we left the establishment, with directions from the waiter to the town hall.
By the time we got back to Brussels it was 8pm and we were both too tired and cold to do anything but eat (of course) and head back to the Airbnb. We went to bed early, because both had 7am flights to our respective countries. We left the country with our hearts full of happiness and our bags full of chocolate.