After our quick day and a half in Copenhagen, we hopped on a flight to Brussels. By this point in study abroad, we were SERIOUSLY budgeting, and I think we decided we wanted to spend about $150 or less in Brussels for food, transit, cocktails, and any extra spending (not including our room or flights). With some serious planning, I think I spent approximately $110 for that trip. People always ask what was most expensive or where we spent our money. My response: we would walk everywhere and sleep in ten bed hostel rooms so we could afford a nice dinner or cocktails, priorities people.
When we arrived in the city, we headed straight to Lyly’s Fondue for dinner reservations we had made earlier that day… Fondue, is a freaking treat but surprisingly a lot more affordable than in America. I think here it was about 20 euro a person, so $23ish. It was so much food, and so delicious. After our “splurge” meal, we decided to walk over a mile back to our hostel with our suitcases in hand. I will swallow my pride a lot to save a dollar, but there is something about walking a mile with a suitcase that has a broken wheel you refuse to pay to replace that really humbles you.
If you have been following, you know we stayed in hostels pretty much every time. And if I’m being totally honest, I love them. People at home always ask if it was weird or I felt unsafe, and I can seriously say I never did. We were always traveling in groups so with the exception of my solo trip in Berlin, I was never in them alone. The people that stay in hostels are usually young, like minded travelers. I have made so many friends in hostels and usually we end up going out or doing at least one thing with someone we meet in a hostel for that trip. However, one thing you really forgo is privacy. So when we would come in late at night, we would have to be extremely quiet. Or when I was sleeping and other people where coming in and out it would usually wake me up. And I would always have to confine my stuff to a locker that I would lock when we left.
When we arrived at the Meininger Hostel in Brussels, the person at the front desk informed me I had booked a private room for the three of us and we were FREAKING STOKED!!! After sharing a room for eight or so trips with strangers, we felt like royalty getting to turn the lights on at 12am, not waking up to someone else’s alarm, and having our own bathroom. There is literally a video of Lea and I saying “Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle you got nothing on us.” And the shower… Compared to the tiny 18 inch by 12 inch (literally) corner shower in London, I actually thought I was staying at Buckingham Palace. We usually like to spend very little time in our room because we want to explore, but we all agreed we were sleeping in the next morning.
When we woke up the next morning, we decided to walk to the Comic Strip Wall and checkout the art. While there, we stumbled upon a delicious waffle restaurant called Hashtag. They had a variety of different waffle sandwiches that were a lot different then the vendors on the street, the falafel was a 10/10.
After brunch, we went looking for the three statues of the boy, girl, and dog peeing. I am really not sure what the significance was but when we walked up to Manneken Pis, there was a serious crowd gathered looking at the little boy dressed like the Pope.
Manneken Pis: Little Boy
Jeanneke Pis: Little Girl
Zinneke Pis: Dog
We then stopped in a pub, Delirium Taphous, for a drink and they did not measure the pours here if you are catching my drift. One and a half cocktails deep, I was big boy silly, ha.
So drunk Sam and her trusty pals walked over to the Grand Palace, Mont Des Arts Gardens, and the Royal Palace of Brussels (all extremely close to each other).
After drunk Sam declared she was “totally underwhelmed” by the gardens (what a brat), and I’m sure very beautiful in the spring/summer when the flowers are in bloom, we took a train to Atomium Park. I really wanted to go to the top of this but it unfortunately closed when we got there, if I could go back I would’ve put it much higher on the list.
We then had dinner at De Monk, and this was one of my favorite meals in Europe. They literally only serve four different types of spaghetti and we all agreed they are masters at their craft. It was totally delicious.
After dinner we walked to a Christmas market, had some waffles, and rode the giant ferris wheel (if you’re catching on, I clearly have to do some sort of bird’s eye escapade every time). Then we called it an early night so we could revel in the glory of our private room and take long, hot showers! It’s really the little things!
The next morning we took an early flight back to London, which concluded my last weekend trip abroad!