We were picked up my taxi at 5.30am on the Friday and taken to St Pancras to get the 7.35 Eurostar. It only took 2 hours and by 11am we had arrived at our Hotel. We stayed in the Hotel Bloom which is next door to the Royal Botanical Gardens and about a 15/20min walk to the main areas of Brussels. As there were 6 of us we shared 2 family rooms. The rooms were large, 2 kingsize beds in each, plus a very large desk, TV, armchairs, fridge (this was empty for storing our own things, but also had 2 free bottles of water in every day) and a standard sized bathroom.
Total cost for two nights each was 54Euros. I certainly felt that we got our moneys worth. There was a slight mishap at the beginning where we were given keys to rooms that were not clean/empty, but after explaining all to reception we were given a voucher for a free glass of wine each (large red please!) and within 25 minutes they had found us two new empty and very clean rooms.
Our room...please excuse the unmade bed...someone was having a nap!
We spent Friday looking around the main tourist areas of Brussels, the Grand Place and the Mannequin Pis (that little fella is everywhere!) the Grand Place had some lovely old impressive buildings, some quite gothic looking.
Grand Place by day
We went back in the evening to a very old pub where I had my first Beer of the holiday, Belle-vue Framboise (I more less only drank this for the rest of the weekend as it was really rather tasty). The Grand Place looked even more impressive to me at night as all the buildings were lit up.
Grand Place by night
The building to the right is the pub
My drink of choice for the weekend
On Saturday we ventured to Bruges for the day, it took about an hour on the train and was 13Euros for a return ticket. I loved Bruges. It poured with rain all day, but I still loved it. I will be going back here for longer when the weather is warmer and sunnier as there was still lots that we didn't see. To make up for the rain we drank more beer, ate lots of delicious chocolate and did a bit of shopping.
slabs of chocolate
We didn't get back to the hotel until about 8.30 and we asked reception for a hotel recommendation. It was suggested that we go to a place called Skievelat. This turned out to be a great recommendation. I had 2 beers, and one of the best steaks I have ever eaten and it came to 25Euros with tip. I was sufficiently full after and very happy.
On Sunday I visited my 3rd museum of the trip, the Rene Magritte museum (I had also gone to the textiles and lace museum and the chocolate museum in Bruges) it consisted of 3 floors of his works. It was a very good collection and contained a lot that I had not seen before, it will also give me brownie points with my tutors at uni. Our train home was at 8.30pm and everyone was well and truly shattered after a busy weekend trying to see as much as possible.
If anyone is planning a trip to Brussels I would highly recommend both Hotel Bloom and Skievelat. I would also suggest that you spend longer in Bruges than in Brussels, by far a more beautiful city.