Clean, efficient, on time. Belgian local railways (well, our experience anyway!). We left Bruges, vowing to return (Spring seemed like a good idea) and off to Brussels. The Brussels Railway Stations require you to keep your head. There are three – Midi (South); Central or North. The TGV and Thalys Europe trains come in at Midi which is actually Brussels South (Zuid); if you want the City Centre/Grand Place then its Central you need. The issue is that Midi is NOT Central Brussels. We wondered how many visitors got that one wrong?

On a strong recommendation, we had booked at the Royal Windsor  Hotel (Grand Place – Brussels)in central Brussels . Only 200 metres from Brussels Centre railway station, it is well appointed, comfortable, great service , clean and – as long as you book over a weekend, affordable. Our sage had advised us that if you want to visit in Brussels (and not do work), then the prices in the hotels go down dramatically over the weekends, during the week you are up there with the EU people on fat expense accounts.

Our route of choice was Route 2 – Europe. This encompasses the royal precinct, the European Union area and glitzy areas such as Place Sablon and Louise Avenue (shopping!)

 

Another advantage of the Royal Windsor was that it was a short stroll from the Hop on Hop off Red Bus, which takes you on two differing routes through Brussels. We found this a great way to get around, see the sights and become well-orientated with the city. Brussels has two areas – the Upper City and the Lower City (accessed via a smart glass lift or some serious plodding of the pavements). The Bus links the two effortlessly.

Directly opposite the bus stop is the Notre Dame Cathedral.

 

Impressive stained glass windows

 

Looking back at the front door

The pulpit is very ornately carved

Tucked in a side Chapel, we found this old model of Mary leaving the Holy Land for safety

 

 

There is so much to see in Brussels, and so much to eat that we had to cherry pick. And, leave some for the ‘next time’.

 

 

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