Saturday 25 August 2018

Belgium travel diary: day 1

When I booked my cheap-ish flights to Brussels earlier this year, coming in at just under £50 for the return journey with Ryanair (including the priority/2bag boarding), I sort of forgot that there would be other components involved in getting from my own house in Merseyside to a hotel in Belgium – but of course, there were loads of extra things I had to do as well as getting on that flight and I left it all a bit last minute, but everything worked out okay…

It’s been a while since I’ve done an early morning flight, but take off was ten to eight in the morning so I had to be at the airport for around 6am. With my parents on holiday and me not wanting to spend loads on a taxi, I opted for train from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Airport, which was leaving at around 3.37am. I had to get a taxi to Lime Street which was touch and go when the driver stopped for petrol, but I made it on time for my train which ...... didn't turn up. There was no driver, and so we all had to get on a rail replacement (single decker) bus. Luckily this still got me to the airport for around 5am, and I was able to get my bearings and take my time walking to Terminal 3 in time for check in, followed by breakfast (KFC but I was on holiday, okay) and some duty-free mooching.

The flight was a doddle and I slept the whole way; we landed at around 10 past 10 and I breezed through security which meant I had plenty of time to make my planned 11am shuttle bus into the city; I’m thrilled to be working with Flibco, who provided me with my shuttle bus tickets for this trip. The shuttle bus was spacious, not too hot or too cold and got me to Bruxelles-Midi train station at around midday. It left from the front of the airport - you can't miss it, there's signs everywhere - and took me straight into the city centre which was absolutely ideal, especially as I was travelling alone – it was hassle-free and definitely easier and safer than trying to work out public transport when I had been up all night and had nobody to figure it out with.

I still had a few hours before I could check into my hotel, so I challenged myself to walk into the main area of the city, the Grand Place, without using Google maps. Obviously I got lost and the 20 minute walk took me around an hour through some suburban areas, and it was SO hot and clammy and by the time I got there I thought I might pass out. But it was then that I realised I'd come to Brussels at the perfect time: the flower carpet was there. It's only down for three days of the year, so I was made up to catch it - but it was so busy. I honestly don't think I've ever been anywhere as busy!

Because I had my case and my rucksack and I'd been awake for so long, I decided to make my way to the hotel and see if they would let me check in early; from the Grand Place it was around a 20 minute walk down and across the canal to my hotel, where they DID let me check in early. So I unpacked, had a bit of a chill and then decided it was about time I went to Tiger, which is always a must for me when I'm in Europe as there isn't one near where I live. As usual it didn't disappoint, and then I wandered down to the park and had a listen to some live music, as it was the Brussels Summer Festival. Then it was back to the hotel for an early night, ready for a day of exploring on the Sunday.

I want to say a huge thanks again to Flibco, who made my airport-to-city journey really easy despite being on my own somewhere I’ve only ever been to on an organised trip – it was definitely a lot more relaxing than faffing around with train timetables and ticket machines! I’d highly recommend them if you’re travelling not only in Belgium but in parts of Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain too.

So that was Belgium day 1 - tune in soon for day 2 of my travel diary!

1 comment:

  1. id love to go to Belgium!!! It's on my must travel to list and it really isnt that far! Maybe we will do the Christmas markets or something.

    Elle x