Surprisingly Incredible Brussels
Day IV: The Vibrant Gent
The Filmy Eurail Adventure : It was 7:30 AM and we were still at our hotel. Our train to Brussels were at 8:30 AM and the one that needed ticket reservations. Meaning, We couldn't afford to miss It. Google was showing 30 minutes Car ride to reach at the Paris gare du nord ( the train station ). On top of that, we weren't getting any XL Uber and we had to settle with the Regular Uber. By the time, our cab arrived it was 7:45 AM. With the great difficutly, we put all the heavy bags in the Car and left for the station. Our driver understood that we were in hurry and he drove as fast as he could. That was why we reached 10 minutes sooner to the station. It was 8:15 AM, I thought 15 minutes should be enough to catch any train in Europe. Unfortunately, there were more than 50 Platforms and It was our first Eurail Experience. Hence, we were very new to the ways of figuring out the correct platforms via Notice Board or via Apps. In the process, I missread the Platform and reached to the wrong platform ЁЯШТ. Upon reaching, we found out that it was the wrong platform and the correct platform was towards the other end of the station. We took a U-Turn and ran as fast as we could towards the right platform.
In the movie, DDLJ, Simran got into the moving train and I didnтАЩt know how? Because In Europe, all the gates of the trains would close automatically before the train would start. Also, It would not open no metter what hacks you would apply. "рд▓реЗрдХрд┐рди, рдпрд╢рд░рд╛рдЬ рдиреЗ рдмрддрд╛рдпрд╛ рдерд╛ рддреЛ рд╣реБрдЖ рд╣реЛрдЧрд╛". Anyways, why I was telling you this specific story? Because while running towards our coach no.7, I was getting flashbacks of the DDLJ movie's train scene where Kajol jumped in to the moving train with the help of SRK.
We reached Brussels around 11 AM. Our Airbnb was just 500 meters from the Train Station. So in another 10 minutes, we reached there. Our plan was to drop our luggage at the Airbnb or at the reception and then head towards Gent. What we didnтАЩt consider was, What if we couldnтАЩt able to drop our luggage to our Airbnb because check-in time across the Europe was 3 PM. Exactly, that had happened to us and the worst part about it was, there was no way we could able to contact our Airbnb host. After struggling for almost an hour we decided to eat something and drop our luggages at the Train station.
In front of our Airbnb, we saw a nice-looking Sandwich shop where we ordered a few Chicken Sandwiches. They were delicious. Meanwhile, A friend of mine had requested to the owner of the shop, if we could drop our luggages there and picked it up in the evening? And Guess what!!! She agreed. While dropping our 7th beg, she might have regretted that perticular decision ЁЯШЬ But It was too late for her ЁЯШЙ
The advantage of having a Eurail pass was, We could take as many train journeys as we would like on our travel day. As it was our travel day, we booked the next available train to Gent which was just 40 minutes from Brussels. At Gent, we struggled a bit to get A full day pass of Trams because the commonly spoken language at Gent was french. And The only words of the french we knew were "Merci" and "Bonjour" ЁЯШЬ. Luckily, we figured out our way and headed towards the Old Town of Gent that was 7th stop from the station. We got down at the 7th stop and there we were, in the happy vibes of Gent.
There was happiness in the air. The old town had 2 huge cathedrals named Saint Nicholas Cathedral & Saint Bavo's Cathedral. In Europe, most if not all the Cathedrals/Churches were Free for the people. Both catholic churches were built in the 15th Century. Being a Hindu by birth, I possessed a very basic knowledge of Christianity. But there were huge Jesus Idols at the centre of both the churches followed by many benches for prayers. There were beautiful glass paintings painted on all the windows of the church. The place gave me immense peace of mind similar to what I would experience at any Hindu Temples.
Between both the Churches, there was an ancient fort named Belfry. Historically, the belfry bells were used to announce the time, any notices or warnings. The great alarm bell called "Roland" was installed in 13th centuary. This fort was one of the main camps of Hitler's Army during WWII. Another and best reason to visit was the beautiful 360┬░ panoramic view of Gent from the top of Belfry. The entry Fee was 10тВм/person. But As soon as you reached the top, you will feel it was worth it.
From there, we went to Gravensteen Castle. We paid a 12тВм/person Entry fee. Well, it wasnтАЩt magical but it was one of it's kind. It was completely made of the stones. To me, it felt like a Winterfell of Game of Thrones or a similar type of Fort. By the way, I hadn't been to any audio guided tour before. Hence, I was amazed! How detailed they had designed/organized that entire tour. Though the best part of the palace was its terrace and mesmerizing panoramic view from It. We spent an ample amount of time at the tarrace before moving towards the peripheral walls of the fort. After visiting It, we came outside and clicked a few photos of the Gravensteen Castle from the distance.
Because It was Beautiful ЁЯШЙ ~
As a memento, I generally brought fridge magnets from every countries/places I would visit. To continue that trend, I bought a fridge magnet from Gent and went to the Train station. We got a 6 PM train and reached Brussels by 7 PM. By the time we reached Brussels, Atonium was closed but I would suggest one should visit it during their stay in Brussels. While roaming to the streets of the Brussesls, we reached to a square that was looking extreamly beautiful. Later, we realised it was actualy the Brussels church and its square. Under the lights the entire square felt magical. Check out these Pictures, WasnтАЩt it magical?
Day V: A Day tour to Luxembourg via Dinant
Post breakfast, we headed towards the meeting point for our day tour to Luxembourg via Dinant. It was 2 and half-hour Bus journey from Brussels. It was a pleasant journey. In the beginning of it, we could able the see amazing Architecture of Brussels which was followed by the beautiful countryside of Belgium. If and when you would visit Brussels, you would know why people of Brussels hate PNB Bank and its buildings ЁЯШЬ
The tour began with a visit to a square with many dead trees. These were the trees burnt by Germans in one of the many attacks on Luxemburg. How was Luxembourg formed? Adolf Hitler was one of the main causes of the World War II. As a punishment, the rest of the European Union forced Germany to give away a part of its land to Belgium. They gave away Luxembourg but not to Belgium, instead, they formed a new Nation and that was how Luxembourg formed. Apart from the history, the panoramic view from the place was amazing.
The Norte Dame Cathedral ~
From there, we went at the Norte-Dame Cathedral. When you would search about Luxembourg, you would find a building in the results. that was the Norte Dame Cathedral. Our guide explained history associated with it and we moved towards the other side of It. At the end of our guided tour, we got an hour to sepnd in the Luxembourg. During that time, We visited it and it was beautiful!
Time to visit the highest point of Luxembourg. The Panoramic view from the place was incredible! I could see a river flowing through the bottom part of the town. Multiple Bridges were constructed on the river to connect two ends of Luxembourg. We could see many houses with pointed Roofs. These kinds of roofs we observed at all the ancient buildings of Luxembourg. I guess that was the architecural speciallity or I would say identity of Luxembourg. Accoeding to me, It was the best place by miles compared to all the places we had been to on that day.
After taking some beautiful pictures for Instagram and in my case, For my blogs, We moved towards the Luxembourg Palace. While we were there, I saw 2 guards were gaurding the palace. Alternatively, One of the two guards would stand at the entrance while the other guard would go on a parade from one end of the palace to the other. It reminded me of the famous Buckingham Palace of London where similar things could be observed. Our guide informed us about the Army strength of Luxembourg. Trust me! It was just 60K. Saying that number, He started mocking about how easily they were defeated by Germans in the past ЁЯШЬ. I loved the Palace as well as the modern Architecture around the Old town of Luxembourg.
Our guide gave us 1 hour to explore places by ourselves as well as to do lunch. He also shared the locations of the free restrooms which was the most important thing when you travel in Europe ЁЯШЬ We wanted to dance in all the countries we would be visiting on this trip. Hence, we decided to dance infront of the Norte Dame Cathedral. Later, we went to Mac Donald for Lunch because тАЬTadaaa Taa taaa taaaaaтАж IтАЩm loving it!!!тАЭ We had the chicken Burgers fries and coke which was delicious. After Lunch, we met our guide and headed towards our last destinations of the day, Dinant.
Dinant was a 90-minute journey from Luxembourg. Unfortunately, while I was in France, I wasnтАЩt wearing any Thermals. Ofcourse, in Tashan!!! But because of that stupidity, I was feeling feverish since we reached Luxembourg. Imagine catching a fever on a trip. Especially, after covid era. It was scary, wasn't it? To make it even worst, We weren't carrying any medicine on current day trip ЁЯШТ So, I took a Nap in the Bus.
Dinant was a small town on the bank of the river Meuse with colourful houses on both sides of it's banks. It also had a huge ancient Cathedral and a Fort at the top of the surrounding mountains. But these weren't the things because of which Dinant got famous. It got it's fame because of the inventor of Saxophone, Adolf Sax. He was born in Dinant and because of whom we could enjoy the Jazz music.
We got down from the Bus and decided to visit the Cathedral. On our way to Cathedral, we crossed the bridge which was one of the most unique ones, I had walked on to in my life. On its footpath, we saw multiple Saxophones of different Colors and sizes. Just look at them, WerenтАЩt They amazing? Cathedral really looked ancient. We didnтАЩt find Dinant so amazing, Also, we were tired So, we decided to freshen up at one of the restaurants and then went into our Bus.
A good pee story and not at all vulgar : In Dinant free restrooms weren't available and one had to go to the only restaurant that was offering restrooms at the cost of 50 cents per person. We went into that restaurant where we met Zishan, the owner of the restaurant. His roots were from Pakistan. Though he was born and brought up in Spain. As urdu language was very similar to Hindi, we could able to talk in our native language Hindi. The guy even refused to charge money for the restroom. On this entire trip, we met so many Pakistanis and all were very nice. This was one of the many happy memories of Europe.
We reached back to Brussels at 8 PM. Everything would close by 8:30 PM to 9:00 PM in Brussels. Hence we went to one of the shops and had amazing Strawberry Waffles. On our way to the room, we picked few Sandwiches for Dinner.
Personally, I felt instead of going for a grouped day trip I should have explored it on my own. It would be a more fun and cost-effective way.
The Next two days we spent in Natherlands where we have visited the world famous Keukenhof Tulip Garden and Of course, the Amsterdam. Click on 👉 Surprisingly Incredible Brussels