I was down in London for a couple of days this week so on Tuesday I headed out to Brussels by Eurostar. I’ve never been to Brussels before and also wanted to try Eurostar so thought this would be the ideal opportunity.
Anyway the day started off at the beautiful St Pancras Station which is where the Eurostar departs from.
It’s really quite exciting (and a little bizzare!) going through security and passport control before going on a train journey! However once the formalities were taken care of I settled in the departure lounge awaiting the call to say the train was boarding.
Once boarding commenced we all headed towards our seats. The big clock says 6.35am, the train was due off at 6.50am.
And then bang on time we were off speeding south out of the city. To be honest the actual journey itself is a little bit of an anti climax – it is only a train journey after all! And the experience of being the Tunnel is basically like going through any other train tunnel except it lasts a bit longer! On saying that however it is quite odd re-emerging 20 minutes later and being reminded to put your watch forward an hour! Almost immediately after exiting the tunnel the train stops at Calais. Now I definitely knew I was abroad!
Bang on time the Eurostar drew into Brussels Midi which is a huge station compared with what I am used to. After I eventually managed to find the exit I stepped outside to find, disappointingly, that the weather was awful. I mean really awful, constant heavy rain although to be honest it made me feel like I was at home!
Once I got my sense of direction sorted I headed towards the Grand Place which is one of the most recognisable sights in Brussels. It is one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Europe and is surrounded by cafes, restaurants and Hotels. As you can see from the pictures it is a haven for tourists although, unfortunately, the weather was really unpleasant.
There are also some beautiful shops – nearby I found this undercover market place.
It had some really lovely looking small shops, classy looking restaurants and cafes as well as tourist attractions. It had an amazing array of shops selling Belgian chocolates. I am not a huge fan of chocolates but even I was almost tempted! However I did manage to resist and satisfied myself with just looking at them through the window!. The Galleries also provided a rather lovely sanctuary from the incessant rain!
Something which Belgium is very famous for is Tintin, and as well as there being a museum dedicated to him, I did notice a number of Tintin pictures and murals around the city. Here was a good one in Brussels Midi Station.
After a few hours of wandering about, getting lost up and down small side streets I headed back to the railway station to try and dry out a bit, and await my Eurostar back to London. The station has loads of facilities, cafes and shops, as well as a dedicated lounge for Eurostar travellers.
Once check in opened I repeated the process this morning through security, passport control etc and found myself back in the departure lounge waiting for the trip back to London. Eventually we began boarding and I headed up towards carriage 1 which, considering there are 18 carriages, is a very long walk! As you can see from the picture, the weather was still rubbish!
And that was it. I was back in my seat and pretty soon we were off heading north into France and towards the coast. If anything the journey home felt a bit quicker. Less than an hour after leaving Brussels I was back in the UK heading north towards London. All in all it was a great day (if a little wet!). It was a good experience travelling by Eurostar and I now think a little trip to Paris is in order!