24 hours in Brussels

 
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Belgium is an underrated country and I unfortunately only got to explore the city of Brussels for a day. Early in the morning, we ventured the city without any expectations. Brussels also known as the city of comics, had a quiet yet playful ambiance. The first half of the day started with a hot fresh Belgium waffle with a simple spread of Nutella and strawberries. Nothing can beat a chewy and flavorful waffle for breakfast and it wasn’t long until we devoured 2 more. In less than 24 hours, we were able to hit a few key spots without any trouble.

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Grand Place

The Grand Place is a market bloomed with restaurants and chocolate stores. It is a must see when you visit because once you enter the square, you are surrounded by architecture that is ornately decorated in gold. A true work of art. Not only that, in the evening, there would be a light show celebrating the holiday festivities.

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The Comic Book Museum

On a whim, we decided to check out the comic book museum and soon discovered that Brussels was the hometown of Tintin and the Smurfs! Granted, a majority of the comic strips were in Dutch or French but it was fascinating to see the evolution of the childhood comics we grew up with

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Sample the Chocolate

There's a reason why we know the word “Belgian Chocolate”. Brussels does not disappoint when it comes to these sweet desserts. My suggestion is to check out the many stores in the streets and sample the chocolate. They range in flavors, style, and prices which give you a lot of options for gifts.

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Mussel and Frites

Through some research, I learned that a common specialty was eating mussel and fries. We felt like it was appropriate after so much chocolate.

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The Royal Palace is almost a must-visit when you visit any European city. We were not able to go inside but it was a beautiful sight to see. A thin layer of snow dusted the sidewalks and the streets never felt more homey. I loved visiting Brussels despite the limited time I had, My future plans would be to explore more of the outskirts to the old towns or countryside.  Check out our one day vlog below! 

 

Amsterdam - A Fairytale

 

Amsterdam... Where do I even begin? To give some context, this was after we spent Christmas in London. We took a ferry to Europe and then a bus from France to the Netherlands.

I still remember the first time I saw Amsterdam and it was love at first sight. No, really. The perfect mix of Christmas lights strung over bare tree branches, the fog, and the locked up bikes created the best first impression. 

Despite the cold, we walked everywhere because it gave us perspective of the city. The city is very pedestiran friendly and for most of the time, we were squeezing through alleyways and surrounded with fairytale-like homes.  

The canals are the best thing about this city. We woke up pretty early to try to catch the sunset but was greet with a blanket of fog. Honeslty, I think that may be better than a sun rise. 

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Perhaps the reason why Amsterdam has such a unqiue feel is the brick like roads. Every walkway just reminds me of a Hanzel and Gretel story line. The houses are cover with their unique skin of hues and sidewalks are blocked by many bikes. Its almost unreal how different the lifestyle is here. 

And the small hispter shops adds a unique touch. Nothing beats a good cafe themed after the German fairy tale. 

While we're on the topic of coffee shops... there is a distinction between a cafe and a coffee shop. Cafe is sells caffinate drinks and pastries while coffee shops sell caffinated drinks and pastries with a little added "something"

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Van Gogh Museum - By far my favorite museum because it takes you through the Van Gogh's journey and his life progression as an artist. There were paintings donated by Theo's grandson because he had someone of Van Gogh's painting hanging on in his living room (casual) 

Important foods to try

Raw Herring - not too fishy and very delious with pickles 

Stampot - A traditional Dutch dish with patotoes mashed with vegetables and paired with a sausage

I have to admit, I didn't take too many photos of the things we did. But enjoy the rest of these snapshots of our trip here. Overall, Amsterdam has been my favorite and I hope you're convinced to visit.

Please commet below! Love to hear from my reader :) Until next time, Keep exploring! 

-Anne 

 

Cambridge University

 

Never in my life did I think I was going to visit the historical Cambridge University. Why? I never thought it was a school of interest or a landmark to see. But after visiting, I have decided that if you visit London, you must visit Cambridge. 

We took an early morning bus from London and arrived a few hours before noon. 

The juxtaposition of London and Cambridge was a delightful surprise. Perhaps it was because students were gone for Christmas break resulting a very quiet but comfortable vibe. The weekend farmers market covered the city center selling winter apparel, homemade baked goods, and Christmas decor. 

Of course, after an early morning of traveling, we found ourselves in a breakfast inn next to Cambridge University serving a Traditional English Breakfast: beans, eggs, toast, scones, and (of course) english breakfast tea. One of the best feelings is eating breakfast feeling cozy and warm on a chilly winter day.

We really didn't have an itinerary so we wandered and explored. The deeper we walked into the campus, the more I fell in love. I started to play in my mind what life would be like if I studied here. Probably stressed out 99% of the time lets be honest. 

I could not fathom how historical and special the campus is. I mean, Sir Issac Newton developed the theory of gravity here. The original publication of Alan Alexander Milne's Winni the Pooh is currently in the Cambridge library, and Stephen Hawking chose to  pursue his PHD on time. Later that evening, we watch the Theory of Everything. 

We were very fortunate to go on a punting tour hosted by Cambridge students. The tour covered a good majority of campus and we learned about different school rivalries within the campus. I immediately thought of Harry Potter's house rivalries. Oh the nostalgia. 

To cap a wonderful day trip, we spent the evening eating at a pub and enjoyed some time to write before we took a night bus back home. I wouldn't have asked for a better first-time visit.

Although I wondered how the campus would look in the spring, the quiet chilly campus was a unique experience. I'm pretty sure we weren't allowed to walk on some parts of the campus but no one was there to catch us ;D There is so much beauty in the unconventional times of the year and I find it more special to explore then. 

Hope all finds you well and until next time, keep exploring! 

"Life would be tragic if it weren't funny" -Stephen Hawking