Visit Amsterdam & Brussels in one day

Bonjour my beautiful friends! I am SO excited to start sharing with you what I did in Europe last month (cannot BELIEVE I am saying last month, it feels like I was there yesterday)!! I decided to split the posts into 3, each focusing on one separate area we went to, and starting with Amsterdam and Brussels. We (my boyfriend and I) only got to spend one day in each city because of our tight schedule, but tried to make the most of it and enjoy the different vibes of Western Europe.

1. AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS.

If you’ve travelled to Europe by plane before, you probably know that flying into Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is the easiest way to get around. Being from that part of the world, most of my flights back home land in Amsterdam – but I actually never visited the city! It is hard to come up with an good excuse, and frankly I don’t even have a bad one as to why I’ve never been here considering the first 18 years of my life were spent less than a 3h car ride from the city! So when we decided to meet up (for those who don’t know, we are currently in a long-distance relationship due to work commitment, and I talked about it here) in AMS and spend the end of the day there. OBVIOUSLY the first thing I wanted to do was head to the canals, which is what the city is most known for! 

You guys, I don’t think I have EVER seen as many bikes in my life all packed into one city. I am saying millions and I am NOT exaggerating, they are everywhere. But that is what Amsterdam is all about: easy, simple, happy life. All the streets are packed with bike stands, flowers, cafes (not to mistake for the coffee shops which are basically where people go to smoke weed),… We spent hours walking on the cobblestone streets, listening to the boats on the canals and the street music.

We headed for dinner in the Jordaan district (BEST views of the canals) and ate at one of the local restaurants – family style. 

If you are in the city a little longer than we were, try to rent bikes and enjoy the flat country. Yup, the country is pretty flat, thus the name “Pays Bas” in French when referring to the Netherlands!

What I wore in Amsterdam: 


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2. BRUSSELS, BELGIUM.

Ok so most of you probably know this, but if you don’t: I am from Belgium. Born and raised, and 100% proud of it. The chocolate, the waffles, the fries,… I basically grew up in the best place (food-wise).

But for some unknown reason, I never had the chance to bring my man home with me! Being in Canada, flights aren’t as cheap as one might want them to be, so the occasions where we could both of us fly across the Atlantic have been really rare. So of course, once we had decided to once and for all take a European vacation together, there was no way we could avoid Belgium (even if we stayed there for 24h only!)

Before I get into what you should do there, let me explain to you what happened to us, because you might not expect this – considering it was a surprise! Everyone in my family knew we were coming to Europe, EXCEPT MY MOM. I had wanted to keep this a surprise, show up at her house and surprise her – and with the help of basically everyone we pulled it of! The day started with us driving from Amsterdam to Brussels, where we had lunch with my two younger brothers and their girlfriends. We ate at a typical Belgian restaurant called Le Bivouac de L’Empereur, which is at the foot of the Lion’s Mount (which, if you are into history, is a well-known battle space at the time of Napoleon). After that, we drove to my mom and step-dad’s house – and entered the house without her knowing. I hadn’t seen her since Christmas, so you can imagine the shock she had when I walked into her bedroom and she was doing her hair! She stood there for a few seconds while everything was registering, and then in very good mom form, screamed and hugged both of us for a good 10 minutes! It is actually the second time I surprise a member of my family when flying back home, the first time was my youngest brother who walked into my mom’s living room and I walked in behind him (I was hiding in the bedroom). It is always incredibly amazing to bring so much joy to someone just by being there! Presents are overestimated! 

Ok so back to our trip, that night my brother took his girlfriend and both of us bar-hopping in Brussels (in all honesty I cannot really remember what happen, but I guess that proves the fact that Belgian beer is good, and that the nightlife in Brussels is alive and well!!). The next morning, we met everyone in the city and walked over to La Grand-Place. If there is ONE place you need to visit in Belgium, it is La Grand-Place. It is – I want to say – almost one thousand years old, and the market space look like what you would see in old movies. Cobblestones streets, gold details, old (very very old) buildings – it is absolutely a jewel of European architecture. I was there in Christmas too and you can see the photos I took then here.

No visit to La Grand-Place is complete without a pit-stop to say hi to my favorite pissing boy. Yeah, you read that right. The Manneken Pis is a symbol of Brussels and Belgium in general, and is a tiny statue of a little boy peeing. I know this sounds weird, and it will sound even weirder when I tell you that the authorities dress him up with costumes all year long depending on what time it is (Santa for Christmas, black red and yellow for the country’s birthday,…). The legend behind it is says that the statue was erected in honor of a little boy who saved Brussels in the 12th century, peeing on a wick that had been set on fire to burn the city down. If that isn’t the cutest story you’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is!

And the most important information you will need: go to basically any stand of Belgaufra you can find – they make THE best Belgian waffles you can dream of. And no, you cannot compare the fake ones you buy in store to actual Belgian waffles (that is quite an insult to be honest!). Try and you’ll understand.

What I wore in Brussels:

 

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