Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Britt Abroad - Volume 2 - Brussels January 2018

Welcome to my travel blog series, A Britt Abroad! Previously in my first edition, I talked about my trip to Fuerteventura, you can read more bout that here.

This blog, however is all about my recent trip to Belgium!

You may or may not know but my future husband Tim runs and teaches a method called CONTROL. In this seven step system for change he teaches people how to make positive and lasting changes in their lives. He is absolutely amazing and teaches these workshops all around the UK. Recently he was invited to Belgium by fellow hypnotist Rob de Groof to teach this system to clients and colleagues of Rob's and had sold out three dates there. 

Tim and I support each other in everything we do and it's one of the things I love that about our relationship. So naturally, I too packed my bags for a long weekend on the continent! A quick two hour Eurostar train journey and we were there!

The town that Rob's centre is in and where Tim would be teaching, is a place called Aarschot and is about 30 minutes outside Brussels. I had never heard of it before and although it may be small, it's steeped in great history which dates back to the Roman era. It also has a dark past in World War I, where German troops occupied the city, set alight to homes and ordered the entire population to evacuate completely. Today's Aarschot however, is a sleepy town with cobbled streets and a winding river that passes through, called the Demer. 

Our hotel also had its own unique history. 's Hertogenmolens Aarschot is an old water-mill complex dating back to the 16th century, now a charming small hotel and restaurant. With exposed white brick work and beams in the 25 hotel rooms available, it has both an old and new feeling about it. Our room also had lovely views of the river which runs straight underneath. 

We arrived on the Thursday and once we had checked in and unpacked, went for a stroll to check out the local town. We then met with Rob and his lovely wife Daniela for dinner in the restaurant next to the hotel. I had steak and new potatoes which was delicious! We then retired for an early night as we were both tired from travelling and of course, Tim had his workshops to teach.

The following morning after Rob picked Tim up, I went on a solo Britt adventure! The hotel was very near the train station so I hopped on a double decker train (I think these are a bloody marvellous idea by the way!) and travelled to Brussels. Having never been before, I was relying on my keen travel instincts (and Apple maps...) to see the sights and get around. I had asked my Twitter followers for any tips, advice and recommendations when in Belgium and apart from the chorus of 'waffles', 'chocolate' and 'beer' a few ideas had come in the shape of checking out the Grand Place and surrounding area. Luckily, it was a bright sunny day, albeit freezing but great weather for exploring.

After arriving in Brussels Central I walked through the busy streets, passing both tourists and locals, chocolate shops in abundance and street entertainment and made my way to Grand Place. While the square itself reminded me of the square in Bruges (having visited in December 2015), it is easy to see why it is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. The tall, imposing nature of the Brussels Town Hall is both beautiful and humbling. At 315ft high, it's a magnificent sight to behold. This, as well as the Museum of the City of Brussels opposite and the Guild Houses of The Grand Place, makes it a must see on any Belgian trip! I also saw the famous Manneken Pis.

It was time for lunch and I enjoyed a massive cone of chips with ketchup! Before anyone badgers me about not doing it right because I didn't have mayonnaise (Amy McManus, I'm looking at you!) I should point out I'm allergic to egg and therefore enjoying a bit of mayo would have landed me in a European hospital rather sharpish. Haha!

Then, to follow the chips, I had a local delicacy of a warm tasty waffle COVERED in melted Nutella. I enjoyed these sitting on the steps of the museum, taking in the sights and sounds, people watching and making sure it's an experience I would remember.

The following day and the weather was abysmal! Windy and raining and freezing cold. I didn't fancy going out and so instead I relaxed by the fire in the hotel and read Harry Potter. I'm currently re-reading the series as it's one I adore.

Sunday the weather was a little better and so I decided to venture out to see the sights of Aasrscot. However, it was very clear I had chosen the wrong day! I did an Instagram story of me basically walking around a closed and empty town trying to find a latte, unsuccessfully I might add. I did, however, find a large naked man (in the form of a peeking statue) and a lot of unwanted sad Christmas trees left on the side of the road.

Then in the evening we again had lunch with Rob and Daniela but this time we visited a sushi restaurant called Shokudo and we enjoyed a massive sushi boat called 'Titanic'. It was amazing! I'd never seen so much sushi all in one place. If you ever find yourself in Aarschot, I highly recommend the place! Attentive staff, tasty food and strong drinks!

Finally on our last day, Tim and I got some time together. Our Eurostar was booked for the evening so we had a whole day to enjoy Brussels before heading home. I showed him around where I had visited on the Friday, once again having a chip cone and a waffle! 

It was a lovely and relaxing few days, for me anyway! Tim's trainings went very well and we are scheduled to go back out there again later this year for another weekend! 

If you have been, what did you think, where did you go? I'd love to hear your Belgian stories.

Until next time,

B xo


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