Tag Archives: brussels

SNAP: Reflections

IMG_0518

In the last few months I seem to have become fascinated with capturing reflections

Whether it’s water, windows or mirrors, I can’t help myself!

It doesn’t always result in a great shot – but it’s been a fun way to get used to the new camera I bought at the beginning of the year

I think I especially like the shots that appear to be double or triple exposures – they have a kind of dreamy quality to them

So I thought I’d share a few of the shots…

IMG_0788IMG_0534 IMG_0476 IMG_0461IMG_0689 IMG_0686

Photos: my reflection in a train window; stairs in the Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels; railway tracks through a window, a gas tower reflected in a puddle, east London; the same gas tower reflected in the window of The Oval venue; a duck reflecting in Bruges (see what I did there?); a tower in the water in Bruges

What’s inspiring you to get snapping recently?

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Visit: Brussels (on the cheap)

IMG_0586

In the last couple of years loads of my friends seem to have visited Belgium and returned with very positive reviews  – including E, who posted lots of lovely photos from her trip last March

As usual, D and me were on a budget trip (see Paris and Amsterdam) – but, also as usual, we still had a brilliant time

So I thought I’d share some of the things we got up to…

Getting there

Eurostar tracks in Brussels

We were lucky to grab some cheap tickets in the Eurostar sale a few months ago – always something to look out for (I was even luckier as D paid for both of us as my Christmas present!)

Train is probably my favourite way to travel on the whole – and I find it amazing how quickly the time goes by when reading the paper, listening to podcasts and munching on almonds

It took little over two hours to travel from St Pancras in London, to Brussels Midi station

Staying there

We used our favourite website, AirBnB to book a room in a beautiful apartment owned by a lovely couple who lived close to the city centre

IMG_0632IMG_0628

For £40 a night we had a comfortable bed, use of a kitchen and access to lots of local knowledge – in a much nicer environment than a faceless hotel

Eating there

The benefit of being able to use a kitchen meant we cut back lots on the cost of food (a technique we use a lot when travelling about)

IMG_1181

Each day we ate breakfast at the house, then made up sandwiches of cheese and ham, packed up with bananas, nuts and a big bottle of water for the day – and on two of the evenings we made pasta for dinner

This didn’t mean we missed out though – we still enjoyed a great meal out at a great Ethiopian restaurant, Kokob (recommended to us by a lovely couple who helped us with directions) and stopped off plenty of times for hot drinks and sweet treats

IMG_0765

There’s literally chocolate shops lining every street you walk down – and we discovered the shop assistants seem perfectly happy to just serve you up a couple of chocolates, rather than a huge box (which is good news when single chocolates generally cost around 1 euro each!)

What to see

Now I have to admit, we didn’t really take full advantage of the array of museums on offer in Brussels – this was partly due to money, partly due to the weather and partly to due with our interests not entirely matching up with what the museums offered

However we did make it to the Musical Instruments Museum (or the MIM) – a beautiful building teeming with all kinds of wonderful creations from all around the world

IMG_0805

Each visitor to the museum is given a little hand held device with earphones which activates every time you walk towards a display cabinet and plays an example of the instruments in action – very clever!

It’s also worth going into the museum just to sit in the top floor cafe with a hot chocolate – a really lovely building with views over the city

We also spent a little while at the Parliamentarium – it doesn’t involve any stargazing but is a free museum attached to the European parliament buildings, which walks you through some of the EU’s history

IMG_1179

IMG_0600

And of course we had to see the dramatic Grand Place (including the town hall with its unsymmetrical design) and the Manneken Pis (the little statue of a fella peeing into a pool – I was more amused by the graffiti besides him, which looks like the work of French artist Invader)

IMG_0809 IMG_0603

But most of our time was spent wandering the streets – looking up at the architecture, spotting TinTin graffiti, people watching, browsing vintage and design shops…

What to buy

And while we’re on the subject of shopping… one of the highlights of our trip was spending time at a Sunday flea market – there was so much to see!

IMG_0549

IMG_0551

From boxes of bric-and-brac priced at 1 euro, to oil paintings, film cameras and old letters – it was almost overwhelming!

I was also delighted on our final day to happen across an organic supermarket – filled with fresh fruit and veg, crusty bread and huge barrels of nuts, cereals, rice and dried fruit to scoop up into paper bags – I wish there was one in Leicester!

For once we didn’t come away with any vinyl, although we did happen across a couple of record shops – and then remembered we were on a budget!

Some tips:

  • People speak a mixture of French and Flemish, and information tends to be printed in both – people tend to be very good at English too
  • Always check ticket prices – we thought our days of discount tickets were over, but it’s only 2 euros to get into the MIM if you’re 26 and under
  • You can take buses, trams or the metro – but we found the city was easy to walk
  • It’s legal to drink alcohol in the streets in Belgium, should you want to!
Tagged , , ,

Visit:Brussels

grand place

getting around by bike

I feel lonely

souvenir manneken pis

waffles

peacefulbandstand in park de Bruxelles

art nouveau

European quarter art nouveau

specials

beermoules

belgian chocolate

making chocolate truffles

fromagerie

honey shop

homemade nougat

waffle tasting-before

waffle tasting-after

“Why Brussels?” Is a question I have answered several times since choosing the city as a winter holiday destination. In truth we came upon a rather good deal on the Eurostar and were so in need of a break it really didin’t matter where we ended up. Time out was necessary and Brussels proved a perfect location for it. We discovered a very civilised city full of history, art, beer, chocolate and waffles which happen to be a few of my favourite things!  There are many artisan shops to explore, fromageries, charcuteries and we even found a little shop devoted exclusively to honey. We visited a few galleries and museums, exploring the surreal world of Magritte, a beer museum in the grande place (which was more about the drinking beer than it’s history!) we found a few dinosaurs and spend a full 3 hours exploring the vast museum of art history. Brussels is also the birthplace of Art Nouveau and there are many fabulous buildings and restaurants so see and visit. There was so much to explore, we walked and walked until I thought my feet would no longer carry me, and then we walked some more! A great break from reality and I am now fully addicted to Belgian waffles!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our week: 23rd-29th Feb

E's week….

The week E had…

Made: Currently recipe testing belgian waffles

Did: Brussels! We did a lot of walking, sightseeing, museum visiting, eating and drinking, a lovely few days

Spent: We found an amazing shop in Brussels called the international home of cooking a cook wear shop full of fabulous things, from silicone bake wear to copper pans… brilliant! I picked up a pasta cutter and some butchers string, intending to go back for some silicone moulds, though sadly we ran out of time

If you click on one link this weekend: Jim’ll paint it you name it and he paints it.

IMG_0064

The week B had…

Made: Many a list, on many a piece of paper – stuck all over my desk and house!

Did: Saw Piaf at Curve theatre in Leicester – I really didn’t know anything about the French singer beforehand, and was genuinely surprised by her life story – I wasn’t sure about the production at first, but was won round

Spent: With a little advise from E, C and my mum, I purchased some new luggage ready for my trip to Canada (clearly it was important to buy one with animals all over it!)

If you click on one link this weekend:  I found this post by A Rosie Outlook on sponsored posts really fascinating – I didn’t understand how Google worked before ready this

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,