I have never decided to make a journey on such a short notice. Just 12 hours before we started, with a beer in our hands, we decided it! Everything started with two friends of mine, Nelly and Corinna, who planned some time ago to make a roadtrip to Luxembourg and Belgium.
Since we didn´t have any other plans for the time between Christmas and New Years Eve, we, my boyfriend Julian, his brother Nicolas and I, decided to just come with Nelly and Corinna who still had some space in their car for us. The result was a very nice and adventurous journey to Luxembourg, Brussels, Gent and Bruges.
We started our journey first to Luxembourg in the morning of the 27th of December, a very snowy and cold day. Corinna picked us up with her car and the road trip begun.
It took us much longer than we have calculated to reach Luxembourg because of the weather conditions. But once we were there, we were very amazed by the city! We didn´t spend a long time there but we liked, what we saw – beautiful little streets, impressive buildings, a mysterious castle, old churches, a big bridge with a nice view. We got something to eat in the city (the prices are slightly higher than in Germany) and roamed around for about 1,5 hours. Unfortunately we didn´t have more time because our final destination for today was Brussels and we knew that we will need a long time to get there because of the snow. But for me it was anyways enough because my feet were completely wet – my shoes are unfortunately not really waterproof and on some parts we walked through 20 cm high snow and snow mud.
Back in the car we continued our trip to Brussels. When we reached it was already night and still snowing heavily.
The “funny” thing was that Julian, Nico and I still didn´t have an accommodation for the night– we haven´t booked any hostel and for a couchsurfing request it was already too late and on a too short notice. Nelly and Corinna had already their couch surfer because they planned the trip some time ago and the three of us had to find a place to stay. So we walked to the first hostel that we had found on internet but it was already booked out – the second one that they recommended us also and at the end, after around 1,5 hours of searching for a hostel we found one in the worst area of the city! It was not at all like we expected – the heater was not working properly, there was no warm water and it was not very clean – but at least we had a place for staying overnight
Here you can see some helpful city maps of Brussels with feasible routes:
After getting up the next morning we started to walk through the city of Brussels. It was a very nice and sunny day, even though ice cold and the ground still full of snow and ice.
Our hostel was located close to the Porte de Hal with a nice little park. Here we started our tour. Afterwards we went to the Palace of Justice, along cozy streets and beautiful houses, to the Notre Dame du Sablon, to beautiful parks, the Monnaie Opera, the Royal Palace and the Federal Parliament with the Parc de Bruxelles, St. Michel & St. Gudula Cathedral, the Manneken Pis and the Grand Place. We enjoyed it a lot although it was very cold! At the Grand Place every two hours the buildings are illuminated and classic music sounds – it´s a nice act.
Afterwards we went to the Christmas Market close to the Grand Place for having a “Glühwein” and then we continued our way to the Hostel “Meininger” which we had booked the night before. Luckily there was a free 3-bed room for that night. We really liked it there, simple but very nice rooms with everything that we needed. It was very comfortable and cozy and the staff was also very friendly and helpful. We relaxed a bit in our room and afterwards we had a Duvel (Belgium Beer) at the bar downstairs.
In this part of Belgium the people speak french, but in Gent and Bruges for example, the people speak a language called Flemish, which is like Dutch.
The next day Corinna and Nelly picked us up with the car and we continued our road trip to Gent. But before we stopped shortly at the famous “Atomium” – and we were really impressed by its height.
Luckily the streets were free and dry and we just needed around one hour to reach Gent. This little city is like a treasure – narrow streets, old churches, bridges, castles and gorgeous houses. We just felt like back in Middle Ages time. Gent is a small student town, not too expensive compared with other Belgium cities and with a great ancient and cozy flair, which you can feel while just walking through the streets and along the channel.
Here we had lunch and afterwards we roamed around in the city for around 2 hours. We bought some Belgium chocolate and waffles and afterwards we went back to the car to continue to Bruges.
In Bruges we had booked already the hostel for the two following nights in order to avoid what happened when we reached Brussels.
The Youth Hostel was not the best option but since everything was booked out and we didn´t find any couchsurfer on that short notice, we had to take it. I had to sleep alone in a girl´s dorm and the two boys slept in a boys dorm.
Here you can see a useful map about Bruges:
The next day we were walking a lot and although the town is not that big, you come never to an end. The streets don´t really have a system and are like a maze which leads you always to new places that you haven´t seen before
But Bruges is just impressive – also here we felt like back in Middle Ages time. The canal that surrounds the small city, the small canals that lead through the city, the numerous small romantic bridges, the windmills, old buildings, churches, monasteries, castles, small chocolate shops, ancient romantic restaurants with chimneys, etc. make this town to a really magic place. You really feel like in a movie and there are uncountable objects for taking photos. The only thing that is a pity, is the crowd of tourists here – that circumstance lets the town appear a bit impersonal – in contrast to Gent which is also a small ancient city but it´s not too touristic and still keeps its personality and Belgium flair.
Coming to the famous Belgium beer there is really a high diversity regarding flavor and strength. Many of them are really good and in average stronger than the German beer. The beer with fruit flavors like cherry or raspberry I don´t like to much. What I liked the most is Duvel. Leffe is also good but a bit heavy and sweet like the German wheat beer.
The Belgium chocolate is really tasty and fancy and the waffles are also good, although a bit too sweet in my opinion.
On the 31st of December in the morning we drove back to Germany after a crazy and spontaneously but very nice and adventurous road trip to Luxembourg and Belgium. We experienced and saw many things in a short time and although these countries are so small they have a lot to offer in terms of history and culture. It´s really worth it to visit them!
Thanks for reading!