A Journey Through Brussels, Heidi Unplugged In Belgium

February 14, 2013 — 4 Comments
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I’m very pleased that Heidi from Heidi Unplugged has written the first guest post for Camino My Way. Let’s let Heidi show us her and her family’s way as she takes us on a journey through Brussels, Belgium.

One of the reasons Miss O (who’s 10) was supportive of this whole, crazy plan to up and leave Seattle for a year, is that she wants to spend some time in Paris (her current dream is to be a fashion designer there). Since the flight gods didn’t align, we flew through Brussels and not Paris, on our way to volunteer in Guinea. But, as it’s also French-speaking, overflowing with charm, has amazing architecture, and most importantly, has some of the world’s best chocolate, the whole family loved it. We were able to decompress from the craziness of packing, selling, or donating our things. We adjusted, eventually, to the time change. I drank my weight in heavy cream (with a dash of coffee), while the kids ate chocolate-filled Belgian waffles. Brussels truly is a delight for all the senses.

One of the main tourist attractions is La Grand Place, the main square, that was filled with people at any time of the day or night. You can see in the gold writing that this part was built in 1698—over 400 years ago!

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium, Gold, flowers


In the center of the square are several flea markets. All five of us were delighted by the flowers and bulbs of every imaginable color. The other tourists and locals also seemed to be captivated.

Grand Place Flower Market, Brussels, Belgium, woman

 

As most of the city center is a maze of pedestrian-only streets, it’s a welcome surprise to emerge upon the huge, walled gardens with fountains dotted around. As our rental flat didn’t have any outside space, we took advantage of the Parc de Bruxelles Warandepark, and had the children run relay-races to burn off some energy.

Warandepark, Brussels, Belgium, fountain, trees

 

Brussels is a chocoholics dream! Unbeknownst to me, Belgium is also famous for being the birthplace and home to many famous comics including The Smurfs, Tintin, Lucky Luke, Asterix & Obelisk. We toured the art-nouveau Belgian Centre of Comic Strip Art, and couldn’t resist the city’s offerings of some great choco-comic collaborations.

Chocolate Smurf, Brussels, Belgium, Chocolate shop, cartoon

 

If it weren’t for my little kids, one of the 2500 self-service bicycles at 180 stands all around town seemed like a practical way to see the city. I can just picture the havoc the three-year-old would cause!

Self Service Bicycles, Brussels, Belgium, yellow, bus, row

 

Each day, late in the afternoon, several alleys along the Grand Place are utterly transformed into a welcoming gastronomic heaven, filled with temptations for the eyes and palate. Awnings opened up high, tables and chairs set, and hordes of people descended to eat the delicious fare. We talked the kids into ordering escargot…and one of them even ate it… All of it!

Gastronomical Belgian Delights, Brussels, Belgium, people, chairs, tables, awnings

 

Just the welcoming site of the Champagnothèque de Bruxelles was relaxing. All the stresses of the previous months slipped away while we sat out front at a little table, enjoyed the precious time together, and some chilled bubbly.

Champagne, Brussels, Belgium, Champagnothèque de Bruxelles

 

Even on a grey and rainy day, Brussels itself is bright and cheerful. This picture was taken with the Magritte Museum behind us, looking beyond the steeple of Sainte-Catherine, towards the Grand Place.

Grey Brussels, Belgium, Heidi Unplugged, Cathedral

 

The Atomium, situated on the northern outskirts of Brussels, was built for the 1958 World Fair, and has attracted forty million visitors. We five were fascinated by the technical and scientific progress on display, as well as the equally breathtaking display of beauty seen looking through the windows, from high above the ground.

Atomium Views, Brussels, Belgium, city, trees, park

 

No trip with small children is ever perfect (sleep deprivation, tantrums, schlepping way too much luggage, meltdowns, etc.), but our stay in Brussels was as close to perfect as our family could ever hope to find.

HeidiUnplugged, Brussels, Belgium, family, atriom

Heidi recently decided to quit work and pull the trigger on a life-long dream – to take a year ‘off’ to travel and volunteer in global development. She, her husband, and their three young children are doing just that. No longer at Microsoft, they are instead exploring the world together, learning another language, and making an impact as they go. Heidi is learning to love photography and has captured countless images from their journey. She blogs about the countries and lessons learned at

Heidi Unplugged

 

You can also keep up with Heidi via:

Facebook  and  Twitter

 

Thanks so much to Heidi and her family for the inspiring journey through Brussels, Belgium. If you would like to write a guest post for Camino My Way, please send me an email for more information: guestpost (at) caminomyway.com. Thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.

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4 responses to A Journey Through Brussels, Heidi Unplugged In Belgium

  1. Thanks so much for letting me guest post! It’s an honor and lots of fun to get to share some pictures and a bit of our year of travel with your fans and followers!

    • Thanks to you too, Heidi and for doing such a great job. I really enjoyed your article and now, I really want to visit Brussels. Happy travels to you and your family 🙂

  2. Beautiful pictures of our capital city ! I’ll be glad to share them with the fans and followers of my blog about Belgium 🙂

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