We had a cheeky Mc'Ds before we caught the 7.30 train to Brussels, it took 2 hours and we arrived about 10.30. When we arrived we went to get the tube to our hotel. The machines were a nightmare and we couldn't find one that worked for a while and there was no one around. Eventually we got our tickets when we found a machine else where in the station. The train platforms were quite different. The train came in but both sides of the train doors opened so you could get on/off either side. We made our way to the max hotel where we were booked. The road it was on, had lots of sex shops which was quite funny. We found our hotel and it was automated check in. We gave reservation numbers and then a credit card and we got a card out for our room. All very modern. The room was bigger then we thought, basic no wifi but perfect location.
The next morning we woke up and headed to meet Ed and Sabina. We picked up some crossiants and pastries from a supermarket which were delicious. We wandered through the centre and saw the pissing girl near the pub Delirium, jeanneken pis. We went up to the cathdral for a look around. It was called Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula and was very magnificent. We went via a little weekend market as well and sat next to a man sitting down as part of an unused fountain, he was Charles Buls. There were loads of walking tours going on as well. We saw the flowers in the Grand Place which happens every 4 years. They lay out pretty flowers across the square. There were loads of people around as people flocked in for that! They clean all the main buildings around the square so a few were covered up whilst cleaning takes place which can be up to 2 years! There is a staute which you are meant to rub and it brings you luck. So we did that, the lady got groped :) I think this was a replacement for the man who is normally there (I think he was being cleaned) Everhard 't Serclaes.
We then met Ed and Sabina and they took us to a restaurant for lunch which had a great views of the city. It was on top of the musical instruments museum. We all had meatballs and these were some serious meatballs, 2 massive ones with tomato sauce and chips. Afterward we went to the Palace Royals, there was a queue for 10 mins and then we looked around. Like all palaces it was very grand. It is open every August for free to the public. There was a lot about the history and world war 2 in particular and Prince Albert. Eventually it led into the science part where the cealing had millions of green beetles. It was pretty different and pretty. They had a massive board of scientists that met for a convention and Albert EInstein and Marie Clare were on it. You could go and stand in the background of the picture.
After this we went to the park and walked through it. It was quite small so didn't take to long :) We stopped and shared a traditional Belgian waffle with cream, ice cream, strawberries and chocolate. It was delicious :) We then went to look around and went to see Manneken Pis, the famous statue of the boy peeing. They had him dressed up in graduation gear which was fitting as there was a graduation day in progress so the town was very busy. There was small stands of Delirium around and Richard also had some snails from a stall (yuck) Second opportunity for me but still didn't have it. We then wandered and found a small pub on what seemed to be Greek street due to the amount of kebabs places and Greek sounding names. It was another Delirium, they were everywhere! We sat there for a while and enjoyed people watching. There were a group in front of us and they had some funny looking glasses, a massive wine glass and a boot shape glass. After a while Ed and Sabina joined us and they took us off to another place. It was a square not to far from our hotel and was very chilled out. After a while we said our goodbyes and headed back to change before we went to Chez Leon for dinner. They had recommended it and there were loads of similar looking restaurants so it was good to get a recommendation. We went and had some delicious bread and both ordered a pot of mussels. I had some calamari and shrimp in mine and it was very tasty. We throughly enjoyed our mussels experience in Brussels.
The next day we went to catch the train to Bruges. We ended up on the slow train which took 2 hours and stopped everywhere but it was good as I read my book and we enjoyed the journey. Also its worth mentioning there were lots of references to TinTin and murals around the city. When we got to Bruges we headed into the town centre. It was pretty chilly and i was annoyed i didn't wrap up more, brrrr. Bruges has a little canal that runs around it and was very cute. We went for a wander around to the main square and then went to get some food. We ended up getting some fast food, we wanted to try the chips in particular as Brussels is known for its chips and dips. After we ate we headed for the bell tower, which features in the film 'In Bruges'. Only 70 people are allowed up there at any time. The bell rings every hour and plays a tune. They change it yearly I think. We managed to be up there for the 4 oclock chimes so we heard it in full flow. It had really lovely views of the city as well. It was about 355 steps so we got our exercise and it's very narrow so we had to be careful. There were also horse and carts around the square, it was very cobbled. We went and checked out a few churches as therw were loads. We then decided to head for some tea, we stopped at a posh little tea place on the canal and I had a hot chocolate. We could see the boats go by on tour. We decided to go on a boat and check our Bruges by river. It was half an hour and it was nice to relax and check out the town and the nice houses that backed onto it. After our boat ride we decided to go and get ourselves some chocolate from one of the cute little shops. They have loads around, it reminded me of Bariloche. We choose a selection and happily went on our way. We had to get some chocolates to bring back for family so we found a little store and picked up 5 boxes. By this time it was about 6ish and we decided to start making our way back to Brussels. Luckily this time we ended up on a faster train so we got back in an hour. When we got back, we chilled for a little while before we headed for a thai dinner. There was a road that Sabina had pointed out which had loads of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants on. We had some spring rolls and chicken satay. I had a beef penang which was served inside a carved out pineapple, it was delicious. As we ate a massive thunderstorm hit so we were glad to be indoors. After dinner we headed back to the hotel ready for our last day.
On our last day, we went and got a pastry and headed for another last walk. We picked up a magnet for the fridge. We went to Palais de Justice which had a nice overview of the city. We then headed back and went for some pizza, it wasn't great to be honest but the garlic bread was good. We then decided to stop for a beer and kill some time as we had done all the main sights. So we went to the main Delirium and I had a cherry beer which was tasty. We then decided to have another waffle before we went back to the hotel. We had the sweet ones and I had cream and nutella and it was GOOD. After eating that we decided to head back and get ourselves ready for our trains. The hotel had lockers for €2 for the day so this was handy. It had a floor with sofas on and vending machines so we chilled there for a little bit. You could buy random stuff in the machines like wifi, more pillows and other items. We then headed on our train to Garde. We were to early and couldn't check in so we headed for the Haagen Diaz place to get a tea and coffee. I ordered tea but when she brought over the glass with boiling water they had no english tea. Before I had finished checking the box she had disappeared. I went to walk over to explain I didn't like any of the teas they had. There was no english breakfast or peppermint and just random ones. I tried to carry over the glass and the box but as I approached her the glass fell. Well, she went nuts even in French! Don't need to speak the language to understand when someone is mad. The manager approached and I tried to explain but I was mortified. Two english women were half laughing and asking what happened. I said I only wanted english tea and had caused a right fuss! The manager said to sit down and he would send her over (the waitress) but I think she refused to serve me as he came over. Like obviously it was annoying and I don't think I caught her with boiling water as I know that is bad but seriously you're in the wrong business if you can't take an accident every now and again. Anyway I swapped for ice cream and afterwards we headed off for our train. A few hours later we were back in Kings Cross. Our Brussels 3 day trip was over.