Over the past couple of years I seem to have become a bit of a foodie, always on the hunt for something new to try and eager to experience local cuisines whenever I travel. I browse as many blogs, reviews and tips as possible, not just on what to see and do, but also on what to eat. I’ve noticed myself talking about, blogging about and taking pictures of food more and more often and my Instagram feed now seems to be filled with more photos of food than it is of travel (oops!)
After a lovely couple of days in Bruges we made our way on the train to Brussels; we were sad to leave but excited to explore a new city. But the capital of Belgium didn’t give us the greatest of first impressions. Everything looked old, dirty and grey and before we’d even got to our accommodation we were both wishing we’d stayed in Bruges for a bit longer.
But, not one to judge a book by its cover, we dumped our bags and started exploring straight away, and soon realised that Brussels was not all it first seemed.
With the likes of Tintin and the Smurfs being created in Belgium, along with plenty of other well known comic book characters, I was expecting to see a lot of art and comics on our recent trip to Brussels. But I hadn’t realised quite how popular it would be until we stepped out into the city and found a work of art splashed across the walls on almost every street we wandered down.
We followed the comic strip route, a walk that takes you around the city marking out all the murals as well as Brussels’ other main sights. You might think they would be easy to spot but, hidden away around corners and high up at the top of buildings, some were easy to walk straight past and completely miss!
Having heard so much about the small, quaint and fairytale-like town of Bruges, I was eager to get there and see it for myself. And it really is all of the above with extra cuteness on top.
Only an hour away from Brussels, by day Bruges is filled with tourists on day trips and it’s hard to move between the large tour groups that fill Market Square. Queues are long for the main attractions like climbing the 366 steps of the Belfry, sampling the chocolate at the Choco-Story Museum, and taking a boat ride along the canals that wind through the town, much like the canals in Venice except here they don’t make your eyes boggle at the price!
I love Spring, when the weather gets warmer, the smell of fresh rain and cut grass drifts through the air and colourful flowers are in abundance. Everyone seems that little bit happier and, in London, you may even get the odd smile from a passerby.
The cherry blossoms that dot the trees are my favourite, bright pink or white, giving a normally dull looking street a burst of colour. On my trip to Edinburgh this weekend, the view from outside the guest house we stayed at was beautiful. Not only could did we have a brilliant view of the Castle right at the end of the street, but the road was also lined with pink cherry blossoms, making it look like a pretty picture from a Scottish fairytale.
Over the last few years, it seems we’ve got into a pattern of exploring a different city in Europe every Easter. The holiday season is the perfect opportunity for a long weekend break to one of the many gorgeous cities and stunning landscapes that so much of Europe has to offer that aren’t too far from home.
Our first European Easter trip took us to Venice, somewhere I’d wanted to visit for a long time. With gondolas floating down the winding canals, colourful buildings with their open shuttered windows, and narrow alleys to get lost down, it was everything I expected it to be and more.
Paris isn’t the City of Love. Venice is.