I (not so) recently turned the wonderful age of 21 and decided to celebrate in the beautiful Belgian city of Brussels. I am a Christmas baby and so my birthdays are notoriously disappointing, people are always too interested in ‘family time’ or going away and I am left with no friends eating an entire cake to myself.
So I convinced my boyfriend that he loves me enough to take me on a 3 day trip to Brussels so that we could celebrate my birthday properly. I chose Brussels because it is a beautiful place, renowned for its cool bars and interesting architecture, and I would recommend it to anyone for a quick getaway.
The great thing about Brussels is how compact it is, we managed to see most of the centre in three days and stayed at a lovely fairly priced 3*hotel just outside the grand place called Hotel Queen Anne.
The time of year we went, (21st December ) makes it especially wonderful as there are huge Christmas markets and the Plaisirs D’Hiver
We spent the first day strolling around the markets, buying food from the stalls, drinking vin chaud and obscure Belgian beers out of funny shaped glasses. After the most delicious chocolate smothered waffle we then continued drinking beer and explored the bars around the Grand Place where I discovered my favourite beer.
Our second day we visited the gorgeous Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gadula, although Saint Michael is the patron saint of Brussels, Saint Gadula is the most venerated patroness, often depicted with a lantern which the Devil attempts to extinguish.
We also went for a mouth-wateringly delicious dinner at a restaurant in Place de Saint Catherine, much more affordable than the restaurants around the Grand Place, and no less beautiful.
On our third and final day we toured the museums: the Musée de la Ville with a disturbing walk in closet of the Manneken-Pis; the Musée sur l’histoire du livre et de l’ecrit at the Librarium which had some fascinating display cases of manuscripts; and the Musee des instruments de musique, a striking piece of Art Nouveau/Neo Classical architecture. The museum does get tedious after you’ve seen your 1000th violin, but the highlight is the restaurant at the top, which has an incredible panoramic view of the city and the palace.
One of my favourite places of the entire trip was the Galleries near the Grand Place with shops and cafés set within a gorgeous gallery.
As turning 21 went, I had an amazing time, one of the best birthdays I’ve had so far, and Brussels made it all the more wonderful. I still ate an outrageous amount of chocolate, but its definitely more excusable in Brussels, sat in a cafe eating truffles than to be sat at home alone eating cake.