Brussels: What I did and why I got mixed feelings about it

Hey guys,

I used to think that there’s no such thing as high expectations for a trip,  but here’s the newsflash:  Brussels proved me wrong with a slap on the face! I thought a lot about what I would write in this article – I didn’t know wether to write it as a travel guide or if I should let you know my personal experience, because the truth was: I went to Belgium but I didn’t like it that much.

I went to Brussels to see a few friends and that was absolutely awesome, but the idea I had about the city changed as soon as I saw that dirty-looking city filled with rude people instead of a beautiful fairytale city.

The bad experience began when I arrived to the airport and the train to the city center – which is a really short distance – was expensive AF ! Then I thought that the most spoken language (including the direction signs) would be in english, or at least in french, but surprise: the speakers on the train were in dutch and there was no sign what so ever of anything being in english – Panic! I felt kind of unwelcome,  like they don’t like receiving tourists…

I know people have different backgrouds and we should be open to other cultures, I personally think I’m quite open-minded, but I think Brussels has such negative vibes! Instead of the cultural diversity and the beautiful streets I was expecting, I saw a dirty city, with “bad looking people” (they look quite rude and too into their own world) going around, taxi drivers who want to overcharge us, mediocre food… In the first time in my life, I didn’t like a city, which is a shame because Brussels for itself is beautiful! It has so much to offer! Beautiful architecture, lovely beer and nice things to visit…

Despite all those incidents, and the “shock” towards this city that destroyed my expectations, I managed to have fun and to visit a few things in this short weekend.

 

So here’s a list of what I did and advise you to do in Brussels

 

Grand Place

This is probably the more iconic square of Brussels. During the day, it is full of life! People are running around, there are a lot of terraces where you can sit drinking a coffee and relaxing, and it has beautiful buildings to look at. You can’t miss it!

 

 

Manneken Pis

This is literally a statue of a boy peeing into a fountain, which is weird but a landmark of the city so, you have to visit 🙂

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Beer taste at Delirium Café

Belgium is known for its marvelous beer and this caffe is quite popular for having a huge amount of beers – it has held the Guinness record for having the longest beer list ever, selling beers from all over the world. So it is the ultimate place for you to have a beer taste, or at list it deserves a visit for just one beer.

 

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Food:  Waffle, Chocolat and Fries

Well duh! When in Belgium, have a waffle! I had this amazing waffle in a little shop in the city center, which is filled with stores like that, and it is impossible to resist if you’re a sweet tooth like me! This country is well known for its wonderful chocolat as well, and let me tell you that this one really meets expectations. If you are looking for good quality chocolat, I advise you Godiva, the best artisanal chocolat shop. Fries are a typical belgium food as well, you can find it everywhere.

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Atomium 

The atomium is quite recent and it is located bit far away from the city center, you can either see it from outside or take a visit inside (12€ per adult). I took the tour and really liked it, it is very interesting. As you walk through the tubes and spheres, there are a few exibhits about the fifties (When it was built) and when you get to the top, there’s a really nice panoramic view of the city.

 

 

Day trip to Brugge

This little city made my visit to Belgium super worthy… It looks like a village that you read about in a book, very fairytale like. It has beautiful buildings, charming streets and canals and amazing restaurants! It is just one hour away from Brussels and the ticket costs around 10eur – it’s a day very well spent!

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Despite all the incidents, I actually liked my trip to Belgium, not only because it allowed me to see my international friends again, but because it thought me everything can be enjoyed even if many things go wrong. Remember: It is essential to prepare your trip in advance, remain positive and see the bright side of everything 🙂

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

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Vienna Bucket List: 11 things to do

Hello there!

While I was an exchange student  in a village of Lower Austria,  I got the chance to visit Vienna a few times. This city has many sides and a lot to offer! It is  beautiful, with breathtaking buildings, filled with music, art and people from all over the world. It is definitely something special. So here’s a short travel guide to visit some basic monuments and some different places in the capital of Austria.

1. Visit Schonbrunn Palace and Gloriette

This one is definitely my favorite monument in Vienna. It is known for being Princess Sissi’s Palace and it is just glorious! The tour inside the palace is payed – you should definitely check it out, if you have the chance – but you can visit the gardens for free, they are beautiful and there is a great viewpoint from the gloriette.

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2. Take a picture of Rathaus

This is one of the most imposing and tall buildings in Vienna, it is quite beautiful on its own but you can also go up and have an amazing view over the city.

3. Comtemplate St. Sephen’s Cathedral

This famous cathedral is a gothic landmark of Vienna. If you go to the top, you can see the whole city, specificaly Stephansplatz, which name obviously comes from the cathedral,

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4. Get lost in Freud Museum

Don’t miss the chance to visit Freud’s former office, to see all the old objects and to learn a bit about his life and work.

5. Check out the Naschmarkt 

This is one of the most amazing markets I’ve visited, it is quite big and it has a big variety of stores and tents, from souvenirs to pubs, restaurants, spice shops, etc. It is a great spot to have lunch or just enjoy a glass of vino verde or kaiserspritzer, two typical beverages from Austria. This one is definitely worth a look.

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6. Grab a bite Museumquartier

This city has a lot of interesting museums all around, but this area in particular is a must visit, even if you aren’t going to any museum. This is a perfect place to grab something to eat and chill out in the sun. If you do like museums, you shouldn’t miss the natural history museum or MUMOK, if you are into art.

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7. Walk around in  Stadtpark

who doesn’t love parks? This is a beautiful park to take a walk, wether is sunny or not. Here you will find fountains, statues and a nice statue.

 

8. Have fun in the Prater

Prater is a great theme park that has the oldest big wheels in the world. Tbe entrance is free, you only pay for the rides you go on,  so you can j just walk around or go in some rides. If it’s spring or summer don’t miss the water rides, they’re super fun!.

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9. Enjoy a concert in the Vienna State Opera House

A great part of Vienna’s culture is music, so if you like opera or classical music don’t miss the chance to see a live show.

 

10. Eat an Apfelstrudel in a Coffeehouse

When in Vienna be Vienese ! This is the most classic austrian thing to do. Go to those old coffee houses and have that delicious apple pie and a cappucino, it feels great specially during the winter.

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11. Pay tribute to old musicians in Wiener Zentralfriedhof

I know this may sound creepy but this is the cemitery where a lot of famous musicians are buried (e.g. Beethoven and Brahms). It is weirdly nice and interesting.

 

This are the things I found most interesting in Vienna, but of course, this city has a lot more you can see and do to such as Belvedere, Rigstrasse or Hofburg. Besides that, do not miss the chance to eat some austrian goodies like schintzel, kaiserschmarrn or goulash! Hope this post was helpful 🙂

 

Lots of Love,

Catarina

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