We have all been to Bruges before, but we were really late booking it this year so we couldn’t find a hotel. So we decided to drive to Brussel and stay there for the night instead. It is good to be late sometimes, so you get to see new things, right?! 😉
If you’re planning on going to Brussels, please don’t do like we did and drive there. It took us forever to drive through the city because in every crossing you have traffic coming from two ways at the same time. There is only one word to describe this: chaos. Or perhaps two, the second being: roadrage. Once we had found the hotel, we parked the car there and walked instead.
We found lots of nice restaurants around the Grand’ Palace, but most of them was fully booked on a Saturday night. It took us a little while to find somewhere to eat because of this, but we learnt how many good restaurants Brussels have. We were really hungry after a whole day outside in the cold and were delighted when we found the restaurant Steak Frit that had a table availiable.
They had a very sparse menu, but one of the things on their is aged Irish steak with pommes frites, sauce and salad, and you could have seconds and even thirds, so most people (including us) would go for this. The two boys and I chose the steak while Anna had the salmon instead.
The restaurant was on two floors and decorated in black and white. When we sat down, the menues was already on the table, folded into the napkin. Three of us chose the steak and it arrived nice and rare with a bowl of sauce each, and Anna received the salmon with bearnaise sauce. The choice of sides were either french fries or potato mash with leeks, and a waiter came around with big bowls of both mash and fries and asked us what we wanted. We could have either or both, and they came around with seconds as well. We also received some nice bread and nibbles before the meal and a big bowl of salad with two dressings.
I love bearnaise sauce and has to have it with steak. It didn’t come with it but was served with the salmon so I asked for some and got a big bowl free of charge. We had beers and coca-cola before dinner, as we were all very thirsty, then water and a bottle of red with the food and all in all it only cost €56 per couple. A bargain, we thought, especially the boys who had a second helping of both steak and fries. 🙂
We met up with Ian’s friend Paul after dinner, who lives in Brussels since a few months back. We went to the first bar we could find and had a beer before we realised how tired and full we were and went back to the hotel.
Paul had given us tips on what to do and where to go the following morning, so after breakfast in a café we went to Sablon where there is plenty of antique shops and a few chocolateries.
We went to Pierre Marcolini and had a look. They had the cutest Santa bellies with boots on in chocolate, but they didn’t go on sale until the 6th December, so I had to settle for a Saint Nicolaus instead.
A few minutes from Sablon is the Palais de Justice (courts of justice) and great views over the city. You could see several chrches and the atomium, a monument shaped like an atom from one of the world exhibitions.
The Palais the Justice was covered in scaffolding so it didn’t look as beautiful as it normally does, but travelling with two solicitors it was a must-see. 🙂 Just a few minutes away from here is a big shopping street, Avenue Louise, so we went to have a look, but of course everything was closed on a Sunday morning (and probably the whole day).