I know, I know, super random. Definitely not your typical road trip destination. But I thought we could take exploring European cities to a new level. And we did it.
Throw back to a 5 day road trip in December 2014.
Instead of flying there as we usually do we decided to get the Eurostar to Brussels. Train journeys are not as tiring as flying so that was a plus of choosing Eurostar. We got a car at the station and after a couple of hiccups with the process we got out of there.
Driving in Brussels is not for everyone but thankfully we found our way out soon enough. We headed to Bruges where we were staying the first night.
It was our first experience with Airbnb. The house was massive with a cute little garden and a cat. Getting in was easy as the key was in a secret spot waiting for us. The only problem was that our hosts did not turn the heating on until later so we froze a little bit. After cooling down (literally) at home we headed out for a walk around Bruges (and for waffles). I would recommend Bruges for a day out only as I didn’t think there was a lot to do or see there (even with the Christmas market). Dinner was at Ribs ‘n Beer and it was delicious. If you are visiting maybe try to book a table as it seemed quite busy.
The day after we accidentally broke the house rules! We let the cat up in our room! The hosts were out but would be back at any time so we had to figure out a way of leading the cat downstairs again. Preferably without anyone getting hurt. Luckily he decided to follow me right before the hosts got back into the house.
On the second day we headed East as we were staying in Genk the next couple of nights. You might think, why Genk? You probably never even heard of it before. Staying in Belgium is quite expensive so I browsed the map for less known cities and came across Genk so I booked a hotel there. That day trip was Antwerp. Totally worth a visit. Don’t miss the train station!
Our accommodation was in the middle of the woods and was quite a cool place to stay. Very modern and comfortable too.
The next day we mixed it up a bit by heading to Germany. It was our first time there. Cologne was not too far from Genk so we went to check out the famous Christmas market. It didn’t disappoint. As we were enjoying visiting different countries so easily we drove to Maastricht for dinner. We wanted to see a little more of Maastricht as we got there at night the previous day so we went back on the following day before driving to our next accommodation.
Ghent was our last stop.
My expectations for Ghent were quite low. But it turned out to be my favourite place in Belgium. Full of history, beautiful buildings and bridges. And of course another great Christmas market.
The hotel in Ghent was the creepiest place ever! The pictures did not translate the eery energy in there. Big house on a quiet road, high ceilings and the friendliest most horror movie alike receptionist. We soon found out that not long ago the building used to be a mental health hospital as they kindly provided that information in a booklet left in the room. As that was going to make me enjoy my stay a bit more!
We got out of there to explore the city and had an all you can eat dinner of pork ribs. It was super delicious. Ribs are a thing in Belgium. If you like pork just enjoy it because they know what they are doing when it comes to ribs.
On the last day we had breakfast in Ghent. I had the most delicious waffle. We were chatting away at the coffee shop when the waiter asked if we were Portuguese. He had some friends in Portugal so he recognized the language. We had a nice chat about Portugal and he even showed us pictures he took there.
Sadly the time to drive back to Brussels came very soon. The drive was supposed to be an easy one but we got caught up in traffic! Luckily we didn’t miss our train back to London.
I quite enjoyed Belgium and it is good choice for a quick city break in Europe. I would definitely visit Ghent again.
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